Central Health sues Ascension Texas over low-income patient care

Austin's public hospital district, and one of the largest hospital systems in Central Texas are suing each other.

Central Health claims Ascension Texas is failing to meet its contractual obligations to provide care for low income residents. But, Ascension claims Central Health is the one not honoring their deal.

Unlike other large, urban hospital districts in Texas, Central Health does not own or operate a public hospital. Instead, they contract health care services for low income residents out to private hospitals.

According to the lawsuit, Ascension has benefited from a 2013 deal, but not delivered on promises.

Central Health says Ascension's own data shows 8,000 fewer patients were cared for in 2022 compared to the 2013 contract year.

"Here's the problem. Over the years, Ascension has cared for fewer and fewer people, fewer and fewer map patients, and charity care patients. That is not allowed under our agreements with ascension and that's not acceptable," said Mike Geeslin, President and CEO of Central Health.

Ascension's counter-lawsuit claims Central Health has over-enrolled and under-funded the medical access program.

The hospital sent FOX 7 Austin a statement:

"Ascension Seton had been seeking a good faith resolution to Central Health’s continued refusal to support increased demand for map services, but was forced to seek legal remedy after Central Health refused to engage in further good faith discussions and negotiations.

Central Health’s taxpayer-funded lawsuit is focusing on the wrong numbers."