Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Nonprofit Hospitals Still Under Fire

The Cleveland Plain Dealer published a lengthy article last Sunday regarding the continuing scrutiny of nonprofit hospitals.  Here is just one critical snippet from the article:

“Those people need to pay some taxes. They are freeloading,” Maple Heights resident Ahmad Wasim said last week. “It’s not fair at all.” At a U.S. Senate hearing in October, testimony by Cleveland’s Dr. Ashwini Sehgal made Greater Cleveland’s health system ground zero for the national struggle between health-care profits and charity.

“Frankly, my impression in Cleveland is that the hospitals are focused on two lines. They’re focused on the bottom line — in other words what’s their revenues compared to expenses — and they’re focused on the skyline — in other words how many new buildings can they build as part of their medical complexes,” said Sehgal. He is a comedical director for the Cleveland Public Health Department but was not speaking for the agency when he testified."

Whatever happened to PILOTS (payments in lieu of taxes) that hospitals and universities voluntarily made to local governments to rebut arguments that large nonprofits were reaping more than they sowed?  One of the best reports on PILOTS I've seen was done in Ohio.  A July 2007 IRS report studied the amount of "community benefit" nonprofit hospitals provide.   


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