P.O. Box 409095
Chicago, IL 60640
Length: 4 minutes
Interviewer: Melanie Evans, reporter, Modern Healthcare
Interviewee: Renee Markus Hodin, project director, Community Catalyst
[00:00:09.07] Womans Voice: Welcome to this edition of Special Report Extra, brought to you by Modern Healthcare and powered by Martopia. With each edition of Special Report Extra, listeners hear directly from key healthcare executives involved in the major events shaping the industry.
[00:00:29.02] Melanie Evans: Hello, this is Melanie Evans, a reporter for Modern Healthcare. Im speaking with Renee Markus Hodin, a project director with the patient advocacy group Community Catalyst. Today we are discussing how not-for-profit hospitals publically report what they give back to communities in exchange for certain tax breaks, which was featured in the Nov. 12 (2007) issue of Modern Healthcare.
Miss Hodin, why dont you start by explaining why patient advocates consider public disclosure of these community benefits important?
[00:00:56.01] Renee Markus Hodin: Thank you for having me today. As you know, free care and community benefits are really essential services for both the uninsured in the community as well as those who have poor insurance. And they count on those for the essential healthcare services they need to treat their needs and their families needs.
[00:01:15.10] Melanie Evans: What would Community Catalyst like to see change about how hospitals report these benefits?
[00:01:20.19] Renee Markus Hodin: Well, first and foremost, consumer advocates across the country would really like to see more transparency. Its been incredibly difficult to find out from hospitals whats available to the uninsured and to others in the community from hospitals. Aside from becoming more transparent about whats available, theyd like to see that nonprofit hospitals are, in fact, doing more to earn the tax exemptions that they receive each year.
[00:01:50.25] Melanie Evans: Do you consider further regulation necessary to achieve these changes?
[00:01:53.29] Renee Markus Hodin: Absolutely, and we believe that voluntary guidelines only go so far and as was demonstrated in the interim report that came from the IRS hospital compliance study this past summer, the hospitals are really all over the map about what theyre providing, what they consider community benefits, whats not considered community benefits. And so we believe that mandatory reporting and standards are really essential for getting everyone on the same page and for communities to understand what they can expect from their nonprofit hospitals.
[00:02:28.22] Melanie Evans: Where do you consider such regulation most likely? At the state or federal level?
[00:02:32.20] Renee Markus Hodin: Its hard to say. Were encouraged by the efforts at the federal level right now. Both with the IRS proposed redesign of Form 990, as well as the efforts that are coming out of the Senate Finance Committee, that discussion draft that came out of Sen. (Chuck) Grassleys office, but, you know, understand that its going to be a long road, theres a lot of opposition, at the same time we think its really important for states to focus on the issue of free care and community benefits. They have as much of a stake in understanding that their nonprofit hospitals are living up to the task.
[00:03:09.06] Melanie Evans: Miss Hodin, thank you so much for your time.
This is Melanie Evans, a reporter with Modern Healthcare. Weve been speaking with Renee Markus Hodin, the project director with the patient advocacy group, Community Catalyst.
[00:03:20.07] Womans Voice: Thank you for listening to this edition of Special Report Extra, brought to you by Modern Healthcare and powered by Martopia. Listen to other editions of Special Report Extra by visiting the multimedia section of Modern Healthcare Online at modernhealthcare.com.