Friday, November 02, 2007

Hospitals face fight for tax-exempt status

From the ContraCosta Times

A U.S. senator has warned that if some nonprofit hospitals continue to oppose greater transparency in the community benefits they provide, he may seek stricter requirements on such institutions.
"While everyone talks about the need for sunshine, there are a few tax-exempt hospitals in the shadows that are bent on pulling the blinds and closing the drapes," said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

The comments from the ranking member of the Senate finance committee came during a Tuesday roundtable discussion in Washington on whether nonprofit hospitals provide enough charity care to justify their hefty tax breaks.

Grassley noted that the Internal Revenue Service has proposed changes in its Schedule H and Form 990 that would require nonprofit hospitals to provide greater details on their charity care and other community benefits.

He called the proposed change in reporting requirements "a dramatic improvement over business as usual" and criticized hospitals that are opposing it.

"It is disgraceful that they are misleading Congress" in trying to water down and delay the Schedule H changes, he said.

"If these hospitals continue to press for keeping the public in the dark about how they justify $50 billion in tax breaks a year, that will greatly color my views about the need for legislation."


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