OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state is suing a for-profit hospital in Olympia over its payment collection practices.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Friday that Capital Medical Center repeatedly violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act by withholding care for thousands of low-income patients.

The lawsuit filed in Thurston County Superior Court says the hospital maintained a culture of aggressive payment collection.

Ferguson says officials trained staff to pressure patients to pay for treatment upfront without screening them to see if they were eligible for charity.

He says that caused thousands of patients who qualified for charity care to pay upfront, incur medical debt or defer care.

Hospital spokesman Jeff Atwood says they’re disappointed by Ferguson’s actions.

He says when they learned about the AG’s concerns last year, they made changes to that program. Atwood says even though they addressed the issues, Ferguson filed a lawsuit.

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