ERISA com­pli­ance should ap­ply to all not-for-prof­its equally

Modern Healthcare - - COMMENT -

Re­gard­ing the ar­ti­cle “Faith-based hos­pi­tals could lose decades-old ERISA ex­emp­tions” (Mod­ern­Health­care.com, April 1), as a practicing Catholic who spent 10 of my al­most 40 years of health­care hu­man re­sources man­age­ment in Catholic sys­tems, I am amused by any­one who main­tains that faith-based hos­pi­tals/sys­tems should be ex­empt from ERISA re­quire­ments as a “church plan.”

The thou­sands of non-faith-based but not-for-profit hos­pi­tals in this country have been re­quired to abide by these reg­u­la­tions and are ev­ery bit as “mis­sion-driven” as their chur­chaligned coun­ter­parts claim to be. The change in struc­ture from be­ing just one more arm of the min­istries of a spon­sor­ing or­der or dio­cese (the orig­i­nal ba­sis of the ex­emp­tion) to a cor­po­ra­tion op­er­at­ing, in most cases, at a great dis­tance from the spon­sor, should have been a clear sig­nal to the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice and the U.S. La­bor De­part­ment that the ex­emp­tion no longer made sense.

The com­pli­ance obli­ga­tions and Pen­sion Ben­e­fit Guar­anty Corp. pre­mi­ums should ap­ply equally to all not-for-profit hos­pi­tals/sys­tems, re­gard­less of their ori­gins or “spon­sor­ship.”

Bernard H. Becker Vice pres­i­dent and chief hu­man re­sources of­fi­cer Stor­mont Vail Health Topeka, Kan.

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