Tri-Cities Community Health wants a judge to weigh in on a dispute with the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic.
The Pasco-based health center announced Monday that it’s filed a claim in Franklin County Superior Court seeking a declaratory judgment to enforce a written agreement.
Both Tri-Cities Community Health, or TCCH, and Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, or YVFWC, are federally qualified health centers, receiving state and federal money to provide health care to low income people with limited or no insurance.
Each federally qualified health center has a geographical service area, and Tri-Cities Community Health’s includes the Tri-Cities.
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The Pasco health center and the farm workers clinic agreed in 2006 that farm workers clinic could expand into the Tri-City area if Tri-Cities Community Health isn’t “making progress to meet the needs of the underserved,” a TCCH news release said.
Tri-Cities Community Health said it’s made significant progress, but the farm workers clinic is making plans to expand into its territory anyway, the release said.
The expansion would “put the financial viability of TCCH at risk, since (the farm workers clinic) will compete for the same patient base and siphon off patients from the TCCH clinics,” the release said.
A farm workers clinic spokeswoman said the clinic received the claim but officials haven’t had time to fully evaluate it and therefore can’t comment at length.
“However, we want to assure our community and our patients that we will vigorously defend ourselves against what appears to be a frivolous and unsubstantiated lawsuit,” she said.