Senator may seek tougher charity rules for nonprofits

Fairly or not, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) seems to be exasperated with nonprofit hospitals--and that could mean trouble. Yesterday, during a roundtable discussion on nonprofits and charity care, Grassley said that he isn't satisfied with the extent to which nonprofits share information on the community benefits they provide. In fact, his staff has apparently already prepared draft proposals which would impose tougher charity demands--including a possible rule requiring that they dedicate 5 percent of annual patient operating expenses or revenues to charity care--but Grassley says he hasn't decided whether he'll go ahead and file legislation to this effect.

Grassley is piqued that some hospitals are opposing changes to the IRS Schedule H and Form 990 which would require nonprofits to provide more detail on their charity care activities and overall community benefit. Some nonprofits have challenged the IRS's plans, saying that the proposed changes would pose a heavy reporting burden and would impose too restrictive a definition of community service, limiting their ability to respond creatively to community needs.

To find out more about Grassley's plans:
- read this Contra Costa Times piece

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