Hospital accuses colony of taking advantage of Medicaid program

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota hospital accuses a Hutterite colony of shifting its members into the state Medicaid program for the poor after they ring up large medical bills.

Select Specialty Hospital of Sioux Falls filed a federal lawsuit this week against Brentwood Hutterian Brethren near Faulkton after one of its members needed nearly $2 million in care.

According to the lawsuit, the member had been insured through the religious colony, which had a contract with Dakotacare to access its network of health providers.

When the hospital contacted Dakotacare about the patient’s outstanding bills in January, it was told the charges were being denied.

A spokesman for Dakotacare told the Argus Leader the insurance company doesn’t comment on pending litigation. Court records don’t list an attorney who could comment for the colony.