Provena Covenant's tax exemption in jeopardy again

For years now, Provena Covenant Medical Center has battled to keep its property tax exemption, after the Illinois Department of Revenue's Brian Hamer ruled that the facility's charity care contributions weren't enough to justify a property-tax exemption. At the time, Hamer noted that Provena Covenant's charity care level was less than 1 percent of its revenue in 2002. Provena had originally lost its exemption when the Champaign County Board of Review first yanked it for what it considered to be overly aggressive attempts to collect from the poor and uninsured. Since then, the case has worked its way through the state court system, with one group of appellate judges siding with Hamer and another siding with the hospital.

Now, in yet another twist, an Illinois state appeals court has ruled against Provena Covenant, reversing a lower court decision allowing it to keep its tax-exempt status. The court noted that almost all of the hospital's $115 million in revenue came from insurance companies, self-pay patients and other contractual sources. The hospital has the option to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court if it wishes.

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

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