Some Hospitals “Seem to Forget Tax Exemption is a Privilege, Not a Right,” Writes U.S. Senator
September 27, 2017 | Strategic Insights for Health System
Garnished wages, accounts turned over to collections agents, and withholding of services until patients prove an ability to pay have occurred at some of the nation's not-for-profit, tax-exempt hospitals, according to a September 18, 2017, commentary in STAT News. The commentary was written by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and senior member of the Senate Finance Committee. Misdoings outlined by the senator include a Houston cancer center at which a woman seeking leukemia treatment was not admitted until she produced $105,000 in cash; a Chicago medical center that Grassley wrote “pushed to steer poor, uninsured patients with non-urgent needs" toward local clinics rather than admitting them to its emergency room; and a hospital in Missouri that referred low-income patients to a for-profit collection agency without offering charity care. Each of these examples is “contrary to the philosophy behind tax exemption," the senator wrote.