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Copyright (c) 2006 Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Loyola University Chicago Law Journal

Article: Hospital Property Tax Exemption in Illinois: Exploring the Policy Gaps

Spring, 2006

37 Loy. U. Chi. L.J. 493


John D. Colombo*


I. Introduction
Illinois recently made the national press in the tax exemption world. 1 As a result of a recommendation from the Champaign County Board of Review (Board of Review) 2 in 2004, the Illinois Department of Revenue (Department of Revenue) revoked the property tax exemption for Provena Covenant Medical Center in Urbana, Illinois. 3 In April 2005, the Board of Review made a similar recommendation for Carle Hospital in Urbana, which at the time of the writing of this Article was still pending before the Department of Revenue. 4 In each case, the Board of Review found that the hospitals failed their charity-care obligations to the population by billing all patients, including the uninsured poor, for services and then pursuing aggressive debt collection techniques against them. 5 In addition, the Board of Review complained that each hospital had entered into complex joint venture and contractual arrangements with for-profit doctor groups and other entities, violating the "exclusive use" requirement of Illinois law. 6

The story about the tax exemption woes of these two hospitals has been the subject of two articles in the Wall Street Journal, 7 two in USA Today, 8 and one in Modern Healthcare magazine. 9 Stan Jenkins, the chairman of the Board of Review, was invited to Washington, D.C. to testify before the House Ways and Means Committee regarding the Board's findings in the two cases. 10 Unfortunately, the sound bites captured by the press failed to unravel the complex issues raised ...
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