Unwise tax rulings
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,