Un­wise tax rul­ings

Modern Healthcare - - Opinions Letters -

We are writ­ing on be­half of Ed­ward Hos­pi­tal & Health Ser­vices to voice our deep con­cern re­gard­ing the re­cent ini­tial rul­ings by the Illi­nois Depart­ment of Rev­enue deny­ing the prop­erty-tax ex­emp­tion ap­pli­ca­tions of three not-for-profit hos­pi­tals, in­clud­ing Ed­ward Hos­pi­tal in Naperville (“Tax bite,” Aug. 22, p. 14).

As chair­man of Ed­ward’s board of trustees, a board of 14 com­mu­nity lead­ers over­see­ing this important com­mu­nity as­set, and Ed­ward’s pres­i­dent and CEO, we can as­sure you that we do not take the priv­i­lege of our tax-ex­empt sta­tus lightly. We plan to ap­peal this de­ci­sion.

Ed­ward pro­vided nearly $77 mil­lion in com­mu­nity ben­e­fits last year in­clud­ing $12.3 mil­lion in di­rect char­ity care. We treat pa­tients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, re­gard­less of their abil­ity to pay.

Pa­tients like Robin Leek. The Naperville res­i­dent, now 37, was treated for breast can­cer at Ed­ward in 2007 (the year of the re­jected prop­erty-tax ex­emp­tion re­quest). Ed­ward cov­ered ev­ery phase of her can­cer treat­ment—ser­vices that to­taled $170,000.

“I had this huge team work­ing for me when I didn’t have a penny,” Leek said.

The state’s de­nial didn’t take into ac­count that Ed­ward in­vests mil­lions in much-needed com­mu­nity ben­e­fits such as sup­port of Ac­cess DuPage (County) to fund health­care ser­vices for the work­ing poor; op­er­at­ing the Ed­ward Care Cen­ter for the di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment of sex­u­ally abused chil­dren; and pro­vid­ing com­mu­nity health ed­u­ca­tion events at­tended by 30,000 res­i­dents. The de­ci­sion also ig­nores mil­lions of dol­lars spent car­ing for those cov­ered by Medi­care and Med­i­caid, nei­ther of which typ­i­cally cover all of the costs as­so­ci­ated with pa­tient care.

As one of the re­gion’s largest em­ploy­ers, Ed­ward is re­spon­si­ble for 4,300 jobs. Ed­ward’s pres­ence, in turn, gen­er­ates busi­ness and jobs at nu­mer­ous other com­pa­nies through­out Chicago’s west and south­west sub­urbs.

Tax­ing lo­cal hos­pi­tals will hurt the com­mu­ni­ties most of all. Dol­lars that could have been spent on up­grad­ing equip­ment, mod­ern­iz­ing fa­cil­i­ties and hir­ing needed staff to care for our pa­tients would in­stead go to­ward pay­ing taxes.

Not-for-profit hos­pi­tals are strong part­ners with their com­mu­ni­ties. They are earn­ing their tax-ex­empt sta­tus.

Joe Beatty Chair­man of the board

Pam Davis Pres­i­dent and CEO Ed­ward Hos­pi­tal & Health Ser­vices,

Naperville, Ill.

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