North Carolina bill ramps up financial reporting rules for nonprofit hospitals

North Carolina's senate is considering a bill that would require nonprofit and for-profit hospitals submit charity care reports and other financial information annually to the state department of health and human services, reports Winston-Salem Journal.

Currently, hospitals only need provide the state department of health of human services a link to their federal 990 tax forms to fulfill financial reporting obligations. Under proposed Senate Bill 825, hospitals would be required to directly report key financial information to the department and post charity care policies online.

According to state law, hospitals must provide community benefits to earn breaks on federal and state income taxes, state sales tax and city and county property taxes. A major component of community benefit is charity care. The bill would ensure only those hospitals meeting community care provisions earn tax benefits.

The bill also aims, in part, to improve patient access to hospitals' charity care policies "because oftentimes it is hard, if not impossible, to find," said the bill's co-sponsor, Sen. Andy Wells (R-Catawba).

"We are still evaluating the cost implications for health systems of the proposed legislation and look forward to further discussion with lawmakers on the impact and benefit of this legislation," the North Carolina Hospital Association said in an official statement on its website.

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