Former employee sues Johns Hopkins, says system gave out-of-state patients priority to boost revenue

justice scales and gavel
A former employee at Johns Hopkins has sued the system claiming it has denied care to in-state residents for financial reasons. (Getty/BrianAJackson)

A former Johns Hopkins employee has sued the health system, claiming that it prioritized patients from outside Maryland to boost its revenue. 

Anthony C. Campos, a former supervisor in the Johns Hopkins Health System Corporation's patient appointments department, said in the lawsuit (PDF) that some of the highest-ranking people at the system pushed his department to bring in more patients from out of state. 

Hospitals in Maryland can only bring in certain revenue as determined by budgets set by the state. However, those limitations don't extend to patients from other states who may receive care at a Maryland facility. 

Campos alleges in the lawsuit that Johns Hopkins is violating its budget agreement with the state by denying care to in-state residents for financial reasons. He also said that Hopkins cannot meet community care requirements in state law, as it is too focused on treating out-of-state patients. 

RELATED: Under the Affordable Care Act, hospital revenues up, charity care spending down—report 

Hopkins also hid its actions from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Health Services Cost Review Commission, according to the lawsuit. Senior leaders at the system began to push for more out-of-state patient revenue beginning in 2015, Campos said in the suit, and would at times prioritize these patients without considering who was the most in need of care. 

"Hopkins’s knowing and deliberate failure to disclose these practices amounts to a false or fraudulent implied representations and/or certifications that it has complied with the material requirements and conditions for payment," according to the lawsuit. 

Campos' attorney, Lindsey Ann Thomas, told The Baltimore Sun that Maryland residents are likely to find the system's alleged actions "highly offensive" as they were "forced to the back of the line all in the name of profits." 

Hopkins denied the allegations in a statement to the Sun. It said that an internal census shows that the majority of its patients are from Maryland, and that has "steadily increased" over the past several years. 

"Safe and high-quality care for all patients, regardless of where they live, is our number one priority," Hopkins said in the statement.