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Report Ignores True Value of Chicago Hospitals
Date:4/10/2009

Hospitals provide nearly five times the value of their tax exemptions

NAPERVILLE, Ill. and CHICAGO, April 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Illinois Hospital Association (IHA) and Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council (MCHC) today challenged the flawed assumptions and data in a report that purports to estimate the tax-exemption values of 27 hospitals and health systems in Cook County and compare them with the charity care provided by those hospitals. The associations, which represent some 200 hospitals and health systems in the Chicago area and across the state, questioned the methodology used by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (CTBA).

"In essence, the report overstates the hospitals' potential tax liability while understating the benefits they provide," said Illinois Hospital Association President Ken Robbins. For example, it uses 2007 data instead of readily-available data from the 2008 hospital Community Benefit Reports, thereby understating the actual increase in hospital charity care by 35%. It overestimates sales tax liability by applying the regular sales tax rate to all supplies, even though a 1% rate applies to prescription drugs, food and consumable medical supplies, and there is no sales tax for supplies for Medicare and Medicaid patient supplies (which are over half of the average hospital's patients). And it estimates property taxes for these hospitals as about 2.2% of their expenses. Yet, for Cook County hospitals that are on the tax rolls, their property taxes are about 1% of their expenses.

"In short," Robbins said, "if the important parts of a formula are wrong, the end result can never be right."

The report ignores the fact that nonprofit hospitals earn their rightful place in society by treating patients at all times, regardless of their ability to pay. The report acknowledges that at least half of a hospital's bad debt is likely to be for care provided to
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SOURCE Illinois Hospital Association
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