Tax­ing, chal­leng­ing times for non-prof­its

Modern Healthcare - - SPECIAL REPORT -

Illi­nois, like many states, has a short sup­ply of rev­enue, and law­mak­ers strug­gle dur­ing bud­get time. State of­fi­cials con­tinue their search for money streams, and the Illi­nois Depart­ment of Rev­enue thinks it has found one.

It wants more hos­pi­tals to pay prop­erty taxes, and the state has a chance to set a prece­dent. The depart­ment rules that three hos­pi­tals no longer qual­ify for a prop­erty tax ex­emp­tion. The Illi­nois Hos­pi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion protests the de­ci­sion and says the state’s cri­te­ria for what makes a not-for-profit fa­cil­ity ex­empt are un­clear. Of­fi­cials from the three hos­pi­tals—ed­ward Hos­pi­tal in Naperville, De­catur (Ill.) Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal and North­west­ern Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal’s Pren­tice Women’s Hos­pi­tal in Chicago—vow to ap­peal the de­ci­sion.

Depart­ment of Rev­enue of­fi­cials say that the hos­pi­tals don’t of­fer enough char­ity care, among other ob­jec­tions. But not so fast says Illi­nois Gov. Pa­trick Quinn, af­ter read­ing a let­ter sub­mit­ted by the Illi­nois Hos­pi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion. Quinn asks the Depart­ment of Rev­enue to work with the hos­pi­tals to more clearly de­fine the reg­u­la­tions be­fore forc­ing them to pay taxes. The gov­er­nor asks for the par­ties to con­tinue work­ing to­gether for some kind of con­sen­sus by March.

Other high­lights:

The Ro­man Catholic health­care com­mu­nity comes to grips with Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olm­sted’s de­ci­sion to strip St. Joseph’s Hos­pi­tal and Med­i­cal Cen­ter of its sta­tus as a Catholic provider. St. Joseph loses its sta­tus as a re­sult of an in­ci­dent in Novem­ber 2009, when hos­pi­tal ex­ec­u­tives ap­proved an abor­tion to save the life of an ex­pec­tant mother who suf­fered from pul­monary hy­per­ten­sion. Hos­pi­tal of­fi­cials refuse to con­cede the act con­tra­dicted Ro­man Catholic moral teach­ing. A nun serv­ing on the hos­pi­tal’s ethics com­mit­tee is ex­com­mu­ni­cated. The sit­u­a­tion cre­ates a rift among some Catholics, as the hos­pi­tal said clin­i­cians at­tempted to save both mother and child, but couldn’t.

Un­sat­is­fac­tory la­bor ne­go­ti­a­tions fuel nurses to make their pres­ences felt dur­ing the sum­mer all across the coun­try while join­ing fel­low Oc­cupy pro­test­ers. Nurses said they iden­tify with the “99%.” At a protest in Chicago, po­lice ar­rest two union nurses who tend to a first-aid sta­tion at a protest in Grant Park. The nurses and other pro­test­ers spend the night in jail af­ter be­ing charged with fail­ure to va­cate the park. That prompts union of­fi­cials to ques­tion the tac­tics of city of­fi­cials.

The pro­posed three-hos­pi­tal merger in Ken­tucky in­volv­ing the Univer­sity of Louisville’s hos­pi­tal and As­cen­sion Health of St. Louis suf­fers through more than the usual scrutiny. Op­po­nents of­fer the cus­tom­ary ques­tions sur­round­ing re­pro­duc­tive ser­vices per­tain­ing to any deal in­volv­ing a Catholic health provider. But then there’s a de­bate whether Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal is a pub­lic or pri­vate or­ga­ni­za­tion and if the fa­cil­ity should re­lease fi­nan­cial doc­u­ments, as Ken­tucky’s open records law man­dates. With mul­ti­ple law­suits pend­ing, it’s un­clear how the merger will be af­fected.

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