States push for charity care regulation changes

Hospitals in California have lodged a strong objection to pending legislation that would spell out strict guidelines on how the state's acute care providers would define charity care, according to the Long Beach Business Journal.

The legislation would mandate the state's hospitals spend a minimum of 5 percent of their net revenue on charity care to maintain their nonprofit status.

The bill has drawn the fire of the California Hospital Association. The lobby's president, C. Duane Dauner, argued Monday in Capitol Weekly that it would impose a one-size-fits-all solution to the state's more than 350 hospitals.

"This proposed  new set of burdensome regulations  will undermine implementation of the (Affordable Care Act) and penalize community hospitals during the transitional years ahead," Dauner wrote.

However, one of the bill's authors claimed it would improve hospitals' accountability and transparency, reported the Long Beach Business Journal.

Charity care levels has been a lightning rod in recent years for U.S. hospitals, and has drawn the attention of agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service, which now requires clearer reporting of charity care spending.

Meanwhile, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan is suggesting a proposal different from California's charity care legislation: She wants taxpayers to make up charity care shortfalls, noting that hospitals have undergone steep funding cuts in the Granite State in recent years, according to Seacoast Online.

For more:
- read the Long Beach Business Journal article
- check out the Capitol Weekly article
- read the Seacoast Online article