Wednesday, April 27, 2005
According to the News-Gazette Online (Champagne, Illinois), the Champaign County Board of Review is recommending that the state deny property tax-exempt status for five Carle Foundation Hospital properties. The loss of this status is estimated to cost the Carle Foundation approximately $2 million. The article states,
In a 14-page brief, the county board of review said that 0.5 percent of Carle's revenues go toward providing charity care and that the hospital charges the low-income uninsured its highest list prices. Carle Foundation also files a "large number of lawsuits" against patients who are unable to pay their medical bills and does not publicize its charity care program well, the brief said. Carle's charity care program provided $1.3 million in charity care in 2003, while the Carle Foundation had $312 million in income and a profit of nearly $33 million, the report said. "It appears that accumulation of capital is a higher priority than is providing charity care to all who need it," the report said.
It is interesting to see local level officials actively paying attention to charity care and tax-exempt status. The article reports that this is not the first time that the County Board has denied tax-exempt status to a medical center. Of course, there exist other more high-profile cases documenting efforts of a variety of indivdiuals, including Richard Scruggs, to revoke tax-exempt status from hospitals. [bm]
Thanks to Professor Fred Harris for this update.