Rulings on hospital exemptions put on hold by Illinois governor
Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn asked the state’s revenue department to hold off on future rulings that would deny taxexempt status to not-for-profit hospitals. Quinn’s move came in response to a letter from the Illinois Hospital Association delivered soon after state officials denied property-tax exemptions for Prentice Women’s Hospital, part of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago; 320-bed Edward Hospital in Naperville; and 279-bed Decatur (Ill.) Memorial Hospital. All three hospitals said they would challenge the rulings. Officials said as many as 15 hospitals faced such reviews. Quinn said in a letter to the IHA that the revenue department would work with the association to re-evaluate the basis for tax exemptions and present the findings on March 12, 2012. In the meantime, no final rulings would be made on the three hospitals at issue last month. Despite the reprieve, officials at Edward Hospital noted Quinn made no guarantee their status was secure. Edward spokesman Keith Hartenberger wrote in an e-mail that the hospital would work with its peers to make sure “any new legislation would reverse the initial denials” and “provide clear standards for charitable tax exemption.” A 2010 state Supreme Court ruling upheld the revenue department’s decision to strip the exemption from Provena Covenant Medical Center in Urbana, Ill. “We need to understand the nuances of the Supreme Court ruling and discuss the options as far as what the appropriate criteria is for property-tax exemptions, and that takes some time,” IHA President Maryjane Wurth said in an interview.