Hospitals Dump Cash To Remain “Non-Profit”

Saint Luke's HospitalAfter reading the DAILY PAPER story on hospital CEO pay, we thought of all those dedicated candy stripers and others who VOLUNTEER at a place where the big guys are making more in a year than most will make in a lifetime.

While the Statesman article on hospital CEO compensation was interesting, of much more importance is the fact that these Treasure Valley hospitals with gross revenues of nearly $1.5 billion pay no property taxes, no income taxes, and are buying up private doctor practices and taking them off the tax rolls.

Now with all the advertising competition between the two, national corporate ownership, ostentatious bricks and mortar spending and lavish CEO competition, is it time to examine the exemptions?
Saint Alphonsus

It is interesting these exemptions are predicated on the charitable work the hospitals provide the community and the code requires an annual report of charitable services rendered as public information–but exemptions will not form the basis of any decision regarding exemptions.

I.C. 63-602D(7)
(7) A hospital corporation issued an exemption from property taxation pursuant to this section and operating a hospital having one hundred fifty (150) or more patient beds shall prepare a community benefits report to be filed with the board of equalization by December 31 of each year. The report shall itemize the hospital’s amount of unreimbursed services for the prior year (including charity care, bad debt, and underreimbursed care covered through government programs); special services and programs the hospital provides below its actual cost; donated time, funds, subsidies and in-kind services; additions to capital such as physical plant and equipment; and indication of the process the hospital has used to determine general community needs which coincide with the hospital’s mission. The report shall be provided as a matter of community information. Neither the submission of the report nor the contents shall be a basis for the approval or denial of a corporation’s property tax exemption.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Well, at least they are keeping the rates they charge for medical services low! Ha ha. I recently had an infection in my thumb that was painful enough that I visited the emergency room on a Sunday. I was there 40 minutes (unusually fast). The doctor knew the problem right away — lancing, draining and bandaging the appropriate spot (no numbing shot necessary). I was stunned when the bill for $1,300 arrived. Could this also be why health insurance rates are out of sight?

  2. I think there is little doubt that these two institutions are two of the biggest contributors to the greater good in our area. Their charitable efforts – both inside and outside the hospitals – is unmatched. There are very few events, fundraisers or charitable causes in SW Idaho that don’t count one or both hospitals as contributors.

    If folks think their medical bill is steep now – just imagine what it would be if they were for-profit. Talk about pain management…

  3. Keep digging, you’re only part way there.

  4. This road has been traveled before.It was first brought to light by Vern, can’t remember if it was during his council terms or his seat on the commission. That discussion prompted the construction of St. Lukes Meridian.
    I believe it is time they bring them in and reign them in.

  5. I recently had a health experience that involved major contact with both hospitals. The hospital and pharmaceutical charges reached unexplainable heights on the statements from my insurance company. Doctors are the bargain in today’s health industry.

  6. Who sets up these CEO pay? It’s non profit.

    EDITOR NOTE–It’s the board of directors just like any company.

  7. The “base” salaries don’t seem too exorbitant. It’s the Bonuses & Other that run up the total compensation package.

    I’d be curious to know if rank & file employees have the same retirement plan as the top administrators–especially at St. Luke’s.

    I notice the HR VP received double the salary in Other compensation–$407,498 for a total of almost $600,000. That seems out-of-line.

    Also what do the Dr.’s get bonuses for? Low mortality rates or no infections? Or is it based on # of procedures or business referred to the hospital? Just asking.

  8. So the question is? What can be done about this?

  9. The power elite run the show here. Always have. The politicians don’t listen to the peasants.

  10. Easy answer Robert. Yank their tax exempt status and then let them pay the help whatever they damn well please!

  11. According to the Assessor’s office, five parcels in St. Lukes downtown campus alone are have an assessed valuation of $129.3 million.

    If these properties were not exempt they would yield an additional $757,698 to Boise public schools, and $2,218,449 total property taxes.

    What would be interesting is how much other property owners tax bill would be reduced if all of those hospitals paid property taxes.

  12. Good piece Dave. Keep digging into it. Don, I don’t want their charity unless its caring for the poor who need health care. Last I checked we’re paying them gobs of money for precisely that. Their current charity work is little more than self aggrandizing marketing getting people like you to write opinions like that. Their land ownership and acquisition alone clearly displays the farce their non-profit status has become.

  13. On my last medical bill for a small surgery, I could easily have paid the doctor out of pocket. It was the hospital bills that were FUBAR! Tons of crap they charge you and throw in the trash.

  14. So far this year I have had two TESTS. Just TESTS! A CAT scan and a PET scan. (It is the same test basically) Cost?? $11,000.00 I have to wonder how much of that was dedicated to these crazy bonuses?

  15. Jerry Jones
    May 25, 2011, 7:08 pm

    Check out “Sick Around The World” by reporter T. R. Reid:

    Click on the link near the top right of the page that says “Watch Online.” Each video documentary — by T. R. Reid — profiles the health care systems of the following five capitalist democracies:

    – Germany
    – Switzerland
    – Taiwan
    – United Kingdom
    – Japan

    If you choose to watch, you might be surprised.

    The point that reporter T. R. Reid makes is that other capitalist countries have figured out how to make health care far more affordable with better outcomes. Their approaches differ radically. But they all succeed where our nation fails.

  16. Jerry Jones
    May 25, 2011, 7:21 pm

    One more link:

    CEO pay.

    Here’s the part of the story that I found interesting:

    “This year, because of a new rule, for the first time investors in most publicly traded companies are permitted to have a “say on pay,” which is a non-binding vote on whether they approve of the way companies are paying their top executives. With 200 companies having held meetings where the votes were tallied, shareholders at four companies voted their opposition to the pay strategies, says Mark Borges, principal of executive pay firm Compensia.
    The companies where shareholders rejected pay plans include Beazer Homes USA, Jacobs Engineering, Shuffle Master and Hewlett-Packard, based on Borges’ analysis. Borges expects the number of rejected CEO plans to increase dramatically as votes come up in shareholder meetings in April.”

  17. Thanks Jerry. I’m a fan of Frontline.

  18. Jerry Jones
    Jun 13, 2011, 6:03 pm

    Also — with specific regard to tax exempt status of so-called private, “not-for-profit” hospitals…

    Check out…

    1. This blog article that explains how the IRS has begun to scrutinize these hospitals and requiring them to document the “charity care” that they allegedly provide.

    2. This article, which explains how preliminary data — which is still in the early phases of being collected — suggest many United States hospitals fail to provide much charity care.

    3. This Idaho Statesman graphic showing what Idaho hospital CEOs earned:

    Wouldn’t it be horrible to find out that our hospitals don’t provide substantive charity care even though they pay no taxes because of their “charitable” tax-exempt status and our laws on the books that haven’t — until now — forced significant disclosure?

  19. Phantom Menace
    Jun 17, 2011, 8:24 pm

    The people that are directly involved with patient care and the support staff earn every dollar they make at these hospitals. It’s the senior management and directors that are making a killing and laughing all the way to the bank. They love to create new upper level management positions and to have meetings just for the sake of saying they “have a meeting to go to”. It sounds impressive doesn’t it ? They could easily cut out half of those upper management positions and pay property taxes instead.

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