Approximately 82 percent of Georgia’s hospitals are nonprofit entities, meaning these facilities have particular obligations to their communities due to the tax revenue the community forgoes. The most important way a nonprofit hospital can begin to return the value of its tax-exemption to the community is through direct financial assistance to low-income patients. Well-designed community benefit programs go beyond the hospital walls and into the community itself. Information about community benefit programs are to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) via IRS Form 990′s Schedule H, which requires hospitals to disclose key quantitative and qualitative information. Unfortunately, for Fiscal Year 2010, the IRS deemed this disclosure optional. To date, only 24 of Georgia’s nonprofit hospitals have completed this form in a publicly-accessible manner.
In October 2011, we issued a letter to the IRS voicing our concern over the IRS decision and its potential impact on patients. You can read the letter here.