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Ad Campaign Targets Abuses by Not-For-Profits
Date:1/17/2008

Ads are aimed at getting action from Cardinal George and Public Official

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CHICAGO, Jan. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Three years ago, health care activist Joe Novak -- during a private audience with Cardinal George -- requested he provide the leadership necessary to end the abuses of not-for-profit health care systems, especially those that are Catholic.

"Three years later, he has done nothing while the abuses, including exorbitant profits and charges, excessive CEO compensations, to name a few, have gotten much worse," Novak said.

As a result, Novak decided to bring this worsening situation to his attention again in a much more public way, through an advertising campaign that he has designed and is in part paid for with an expenditure of $110,000 through Novak's North Fork Political Action Committee.

The poster child of abuses by a not-for-profit is The Clare at Water Tower which receives particular attention in many of the ads and for which Novak has created a special Website, http://www.fransisters.com.

Because this 53-story luxury retirement community being built at Rush and Pearson is owned by the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago, it is being marketed to millionaires as a place where you won't have to pay property taxes. Entrance fees range from $530,000 to $1.3 million.

"I believe other condo owners in that neighborhood would be surprised to learn that their new neighbors are being told they won't have to pay property taxes -- taxes which are sorely needed for schools, mass transit, and Stroger Hospital," Novak said.

Other abuses by not-for-profit Catholic health care systems are highlighted in two radio ads that are in heavy rotation on urban stations.

"It has become clear that the lay people who now run Catholic not-for-profit organizations have put profit over mission," Novak said. As proof, he points to Ascension Health, a not-for-profit Catholic system with headquarters in St. Louis which recently reported making a profit of more than $1.2 billion in FY07.

Another radio ad is aimed at Governor Rod Blagojevich who is listed in the ad as Public Official "A."

The ad charges that the Governor's tax hike proposal is just a payback to the Illinois Hospital Association for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions they gave to him.

That particular ad goes on to list a litany of not-for-profit hospitals in Illinois that have recorded at least $100 million in profits over the past 12 months and concludes by saying to the Governor, "before you tax us -- tax them!"

The TV ads encourage viewers to visit our Website, http://www.hospitalprofits.com, about these abuses.


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SOURCE North Fork Political Action Committee
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