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Senator Martinez Supports Public Hearings Re: Charity Care

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)
August 18, 2011

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From Progress Illinois, Sally Ho Wednesday August 17th, 2011, 3:41pm

State Sen. Spearheads Public Hearing For Hospital Charity Care

The Fair Care Coalition rejoiced upon the news that the Illinois Dept. of Revenue rejected three hospitals applying for tax exemptions, claiming they didn’t provide enough charity care to qualify.

At a press conference in Chicago Wednesday, state Sen. Iris Y. Martinez (D-20) announced plans to spearhead public hearings on the issue. Earlier this year, she pushed SB 1881, the Hospital Fair Care Act, which remains stalled in committee. The bill sought to reform the property tax break given to non-profit hospitals as leveraged by how much charity care they provide.

Martinez was quick to clarify that her district has no hospitals, although there are many surrounding it, including Swedish Covenant Hospital and Norwegian American Hospital.

“I’m not targeting any hospitals," Martinez said. "I don’t think hospitals should lose their tax exemption; I don’t think it’s in their best interest or the interest of the communities. I think [the revenue department’s decision is] a wake-up call. The department is cracking down and if you're not providing the charity care, then you’re gonna have to be accountable.”