Proposals preview needs assessment requirements
Tax-exempt hospitals have an advance look at what the Internal Revenue Service wants to see in the community health needs assessments now required by law. The draft proposal, released by the agency in a notice, included one important provision for hospitals that push forward with an assessment ahead of final regulations, said healthcare officials: Hospitals may follow draft proposal as long as needs assessments are completed within six months of the date the rules become final, although some provisions may change.
Julie Trocchio, senior director of community benefit and continuing care for the Catholic Health Association, called the leeway important as hospitals undertake the time-consuming task.
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, not-for-profit hospitals risk $50,000 tax penalties per hospital, per year for failing to complete an assessment of community health needs once every three years. Hospitals must file the first assessment no later than the first tax year after March 23, 2012.
The IRS released its draft proposals days before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and HHS scheduled a three-day conference on needs assessment and planning.
Under the proposal, the IRS would require