AHA recommends changes to proposed rules for charitable hospitals

AHA News Now

AHA today recommended changes and clarifications to the Internal Revenue Service’s proposed rules for Community Health Needs Assessments and sanctions for noncompliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requirements for tax-exempt hospitals, which would further relieve hospitals of unnecessary burden and provide greater certainty regarding enforcement. Under Section 501(r)(3) of the ACA, hospitals must assess community health needs at least once every three years and adopt a strategy to address them. While the proposed rule makes important improvements to the IRS’ 2011 guidance on CHNAs to reduce the burden on hospitals, satisfying the proposed requirements could still take thousands of hours and cost tens of thousands of dollars or more, AHA said in comments submitted to the agency. To further ease the burden on hospitals, AHA recommends removing, changing or clarifying certain requirements for the CHNA and implementation strategy. AHA said it welcomes the proposed rule’s recognition that loss of exemption should occur only in extreme circumstances, but recommended modifications and clarifications to advise hospitals more clearly on how the statute will be enforced. AHA also requested more time to comply with certain other requirements that impact hospital policies, procedures and information systems. In addition, AHA urged the agency to specify whether the rules applies to government hospitals and if so, how.

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