Nonprofit hospital tax-exemption denials put on hold

To give hospitals and taxpayers more time to find a legislative solution, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has put a hold on new rulings that could deny tax-exemptions to nonprofit hospitals, reports the Associated Press.

The hold comes after the Illinois Department of Revenue last month denied three hospitals tax exemptions, and means the 15 nonprofit hospitals still under review will have to wait to find out the fate of their tax-exempt status.

The governor's move also is causing complications for hospital executives who have to postpone facility construction as they await the decision on their tax status, such as Hopedale Medical Complex, notes the AP.

Quinn hopes the hold gives hospitals and taxpayers an opportunity to sort out clear definitions of what hospitals must do to qualify for tax exemptions. He wants recommendations on the legislative solution by March 1, 2012.

Community leaders have been calling for a strict percentage of revenue for charity care, while the Illinois Hospital Association promotes more wide-ranging qualifications of what hospitals contribute to the community, such as the costs of training doctors and nurses, the costs of care not covered by Medicare and Medicaid, and the cost of patients' bad debt, notes the AP.

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