Consumer groups are asking congressional leaders to set better community-benefit standards for not-for-profit hospitals.
Led by Boston-based Community Catalyst, the consumer advocates said that the legal obligations that hospitals must meet to obtain federal tax exemption have no connection to the reality of todays healthcare system. Many hospitals are failing to serve millions of consumers who depend on fully or partially paid healthcare, they said.
The comments were submitted in response to a discussion draft on tax-exempt hospitals that was released in July by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. Among the proposals supported and recommended by the consumer groups was a minimum free care requirement of 5% of revenue or operating expenseswhichever is greater.
The groups also want a limit on the amount that self-payers can be billed for hospital services as well as free care for all patients earning up to 200% of the federal poverty level and partial free care for all patients with incomes between 200% and 400% of the federal poverty level. -- by Cinda Becker
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