Illinois hospital provided $500K in unreimbursed care to inmate, according to lawsuit

Maywood, Ill.-based Loyola University Medical Center filed a lawsuit against Cook County, including the county's hospital system and sheriff's office, accusing the entities of refusing to retrieve an inmate from the medical center's care since April, according to the Cook County Record.

The hospital named Chicago-based Cook County Health and Hospitals System, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and his office in the lawsuit filed July 11 in the Cook County Circuit Court. The lawsuit claims the defendants actions are an illegal seizure of hospital resources. According to the complaint, caring for the inmate has cost the hospital more than $500,000 in unpaid medical bills and other expenses.

Loyola admitted the detainee to its emergency department after the sheriff's office allegedly brought the inmate there after CCHHS would not accept the inmate, according to the Cook County Record's reading of the lawsuit.

After Loyola's ED physicians evaluated and cared for the inmate, the hospital discharged the detainee April 11. However, Loyola claims the defendants have since refused to remove the inmate, requiring the hospital to keep the detainee under guard 24/7.

The hospital is requesting the court order the county to remove the inmate and reimburse Loyola for the unpaid care and other expenses. Cara Smith, chief policy officer at the Cook County Sheriff's Office, told Becker's Hospital Review, "We have been ready and willing to bring this detainee back into our custody since early April when he was released from prison. Unfortunately, the county medical providers refused to take him back into custody, stating that they did not believe they could care for his medical needs. Unfortunately, Loyola, who has provided incredible care to this individual, has had to go to this extreme in order to get their concerns addressed."

Courtney Greve Hack, director of media relations for Loyola, told Becker's, "While we cannot comment on pending litigation regarding our patients, Loyola Medicine is committed to the dignity of all persons and provides high-quality, compassionate care to all those in need." 

Editor's note: This article was updated July 16 to add information from the lawsuit and a statement from Loyola.

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