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