Non-profit hospitals should be more accountable for charitable care

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Grant Miller

Today, the Florida State House is scheduled to vote on HB 1295 that relates to property-tax exemptions for nonprofit hospitals. The bill, sponsored by freshman Florida Representative Mike Caruso (R) of Boca Raton, seeks to address inequities that cause local governments to lose property tax revenues, while at the same time addressing the need for additional healthcare in local communities.

According to Representative Caruso, it’s simple – and I completely agree. “A vote for this bill is a vote to mandate that nonprofit hospitals provide Florida communities more free healthcare for low income and underserved individuals.”

Sounds like a no brainer.

Especially when you consider the fact that, currently nonprofit hospitals receive over $200 million in local community tax breaks – but with no requirement that they provide charitable care to these same communities.

The brilliance of this bill lies in the fact that it will do something not currently being done with nonprofit hospitals – hold them accountable for their charitable care.

Florida Representative Michael A. Caruso

House Bill 1295 will require hospitals to document the value of the charitable services they provide, so that they may then get a local property-tax exemption that is proportional to the value of the charity care they reported to the IRS.

Actually, from what I understand, this is a national issue. In 2011, nonprofit hospitals benefitted from $24 billion in tax exemptions according to a 2015 analysis. These tax benefits meant no taxes paid into the school system, no taxes paid for local roads, and no taxes paid for city ambulances that bring patients to their doors.

Wow, let that settle in for a minute …

Caruso hopes, that this bill will encourage nonprofit hospitals to staff local clinics, offer free preventive care in the community, and provide pro-bono emergency services to uninsured, low-income individuals. Caruso gets it!

There’s a saying by St. Jude that goes, “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best.”

This is the best thing that a state legislator has done in a long while – especially a freshman. Let’s hope it makes things better for those who best deserve support in our communities.

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  1. Would these non-profit hospitals be accounting for their treating people in Medicare/Medicaid prices, or in the fees asked for before Medicare “adjusts” them? How many of these non-profit hospitals turn people away because the people won’t be able to pay?

  2. Who do you think is going to pay for this stupidity. The community, that’s who. All of you idiots praising this stupid idea. When it’s your turn to be sick and you have to pay 80 dollars for a Tylenol then, we will see who’s praising this freshman and his dumb ideas. I know for a fact that these hospitals do take care of uninsured people. I’ve seen them spend millions of dollars on patients with no insurance. They don’t treat them any different from the insured.

  3. In order to be considered a Not – For – Profit organization, you must declare a charitable clause to begin with. What Irony when a non profit hospital operates as a for profit but rakes in the benefits of their 501 ( C ) ( 3 ) status. I applaud the courage Mr. Caruso brings to the table for the needy. As for a previous comment, ” Medicare & Medicaid payments sustain a hospital,” is not at all accurate. Those are only two of the varied ways hospitals are paid for service. Do your homework with the US Census and US Mapper. Hospitals are required to report their charitable services on their Tax return 990 and accompanying schedules. Do not make this a political issue.

  4. I’m a Democrat and congratulated Representaty Caruso. This is what all members of Congress must be doing ” work for the Pepoel”

  5. Why didn’t the Republicans in charge allow for Medicaid expansion offered to state under Obama care.That would have helped all the hospitals

  6. I like the way republicans try to spin things. What you are not explaining is that all nonprofit hospitals rely heavily on health insurance and Medicaid/ Medicare. Because of Trump Care and the reduction of Medicaid/Medicare, nonprofit hospitals are having too lay off employees to keep day to day operations going. Nonprofit hospitals need the tax breaks given to stay open in these communities. I’m an employee at a south Florida, nonprofit hospital. Don’t penalize us, reform healthcare so that we can provide services to more of the community…


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