Provena Covenant loses state tax-exemption appeal

Though they keep soldiering on, executives with Provena Covenant Medical Center must be a little bit discouraged by this point. Last week, the state Supreme Court refused to review the state Department of Revenue's decision to yank its property tax exemption, a decision that could mean Provena owes more than $6 million. Observers say the decision may ultimately prove influential beyond the borders of Illinois, as both state and federal legislators hoping to tighten up charitable care rules for not-for-profit hospitals.

For five years, leaders with the Urbana-based non-profit hospital have been fighting to get their tax exemption back, which they lost in 2003 when the state's Department of Revenue ruled that Provena wasn't providing enough charity care. Since then, the hospital has gradually worked its way through the Illinois court system, tirelessly appealing the adverse decision that put its exemption in jeopardy. Provena went to the state Supremes after losing their case in Illinois appeals court. It's not clear whether execs are going to keep fighting--after all, the fight must have cost it more than $6 million by this point--but we'll keep you posted if it does.

To learn more about the case:
- read this Chicago Tribune article

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