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Taxing hospitals could earn $241 mil. for county: report
BUDGET | Free care may get justify break, some say

Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Special to suffredin.org
by STEVE PATTERSON

Hospitals that provide a fair amount of free health care, perform other community services and don't turn a profit get a pass on paying property taxes.
But growing complaints about just how much charity care is appropriate, coupled with a Cook County government looking for cash anywhere it can find it, means increased scrutiny is about to come to a years-old debate.
A report released Tuesday shows that if the county's 54 not-for-profit hospitals were required to pay property taxes, they could be forced to cough up as much as $241 million a year. But those findings are so heavily couched and compiled using incomplete data that the results were immediately ripped by hospital officials. The report also doesn't make allowances for the appeals or court challenges to assessed values
Scott Ziomek, of the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, said the hospitals "provide more than $2.3 billion annually in free care, research, education and other charitable community benefits."


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