Demystifying Medicine One Week at a Time

Category: charity (page 2 of 2)

Whither Charity Care?

The Illinois Supreme Court issued a fascinating ruling last week, upholding a decision to strip a downstate non-profit hospital chain of its tax-exempt status for failing to provide sufficient charity care to its patients.

Provena Covenant Medical Center is a chain of six Catholic hospitals. Provena will now in effect owe millions of dollars in property taxes having lost said tax-exempt status. USA Today ran both a story and an editorial on the decision. From the story:

The justices found that Provena Covenant is not a charitable organization because the vast bulk of its income comes from charging for medical services, not from charitable donations; because it didn’t dispense charity care to all who needed and applied for it; and because it placed obstacles in the way of those seeking charity by not advertising its charity program while aggressively pursuing unpaid bills.

The justices also found the hospital’s campus was not used for charitable purposes because both the number of patients and the dollar value of the free care those patients received were minuscule compared to the hospital’s revenues and patient population.

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Peace In

So, I haven’t used this blog to shill products. Me, my writing, my ideas–sure.

Here’s an idea that’s so good I can’t resist passing it on:

Peace Care.

Remember the Peace Corps?  Started by JFK and now in its 50th year, thousands of Americans have volunteered for stints of two to three years in 139 different countries.

Arguably, there has been no greater dissemination of American know-how and values to the world than from our Peace Corps volunteers.  In an era of rampant anti-Americanism in the Muslim world, Peace Care is an idea that makes sense no matter where you find yourself on the political spectrum.

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An Uncomfortable Question

Like most people, I’ve found the news and images coming from Haiti in the aftermath of the January ’10 earthquake appalling and upsetting.

The sheer amount of devastation and orders of magnitude loss of life make the story compelling by itself.  Coupled on top of Haiti’s ignominious history, the situation touches us for its Job-like quality:  “How much misery can one people withstand?”

I’ve been pleased at the outpouring of support for Haiti.  Part of me feared a sense of ‘crisis fatigue’ after the pacific tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, in addition to the fact that our economy is so weak.  And, let’s be honest–Haitians are very much ‘others’–darker skinned, with a French-sounding language that likely doesn’t play well in more conservative/isolationist quarters of the U.S.

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