Property Tax Exemptions - The True Carle Effect

5/9/2013

Recently the local Champaign-Urbana newspaper ran a series of stories about Carle and its impact on property taxes in Champaign County. The stories included some factual information but were somewhat misleading in their coverage. More recently, elected officials from Urbana have been publicly sharing their views in local media and in various public meetings against Carle's property tax exemption. There is another side to this issue, one that is based in fact and deserves to be heard. As Chairman of the Carle Foundation Board of Trustees, I want you understand the effect Carle has in this region through its charity care, community benefit and economic impact. The real "Carle Effect".

 

Like cities providing police and fire services, and the schools educating our children, Carle is providing one of the most essential services to our community and to society - healthcare. As a regional not-for-profit health system our primary mission is to provide exceptional health care to all regardless of their ability to pay.

The need for healthcare services is great and Carle prides itself on being here for our communities. Whether people need emergency services, regular check-ups, or chronic disease management, Carle is here. And when thousands of people who need medical care have no way to pay for those services, Carle is here.

Carle is proud to offer a comprehensive and generous charity care program to meet those needs. In 2012, nearly 20,000 people received free or discounted care from Carle for hospital and physician services which totaled more than $32 million at cost. The need in our community is staggering...and growing each year. Below are charity care figures for the last two years:

Year Total Free or Discounted Care Calculated at Cost Number of Unique Patients Served by Charity Care Program
2012 $32 million 19,746
2011 $25.2 million 14,661

In 2012, more than 4,400 of those who received charity care lived in Urbana, and Urbana residents received more than $5.6 million in free or discounted care calculated at cost. That's 10% of Urbana's total population receiving free or discounted care at Carle. City of Champaign residents received more than $8 million in charity care, Danville and Rantoul residents received more than $2 million each, Mahomet residents received more than $1 million...and the list goes on. Again, the need is staggering and Carle has been the local and regional leader in meeting this need.

Let me tell you more about the true "Carle Effect." Last year, Carle provided well over $100 million in community benefit. In addition to $32 million in charity care to nearly 20,000 people, the total community benefit included more than $2 million in funding for Urbana-based agencies like Cunningham Children's Home, Eastern Illinois Food Bank, Crisis Nursery along with area organizations such as United Way, Promise Health, area free clinics and more. Carle provided free breastfeeding clinics and a free patient advisory nurse hotline. We funded significant education programs at Parkland College, and provided education for future nurses, doctors and other medical professionals. Carle funds numerous school-based programs, child safety programs, and a rural health and farm safety outreach program. Carle is proud of its longstanding service to our communities, and we will continue providing exceptional community benefit beyond the direct provision of care.

Another key part of the Carle Effect is the impact Carle has on the local and regional economy. In 2012, Carle employed 5,900 people with a payroll of $500 million and spent $78 million with local businesses. In addition, the economic impact of the new Carle Tower project is approaching nearly $100 million, with more than 1,500 non-Carle workers having a hand in the construction process. Not only is Carle the region's leading healthcare system providing unmatched levels of charity care and community benefit, but one of the area's most important economic engines. The ripple effect of Carle's presence extends throughout the community and generates jobs, income tax, sales tax, property tax, home sales, retail sales, other consumer spending and more.

When you consider the levels of charity care and community benefit, the economic impact of jobs and local spending, and the effect of thousands of people visiting our community each year for health care services, the total benefit to the community far outweighs the property tax exemptions. That's the true Carle Effect.

As a non-profit charitable organization, Carle has been providing charity care AND paying property taxes in communities we serve. So when the State of Illinois passed a law in June 2012 outlining levels of charity care that must be achieved to earn property tax exemptions, Carle did what many other healthcare entities in Illinois are legally doing, and asked that many, but not all, of its properties be removed from the tax rolls. Carle made these requests in late 2012 and the Champaign County Board of Review and the Illinois Department of Revenue approved. Carle completed all filings and notifications as required and within allowable timelines set by the taxing bodies. Local taxing bodies and their elected officials have known about the new law for almost a full year and are fully aware that Carle has historically exceeded the requirements for exemption.

As a reminder, the law signed in June 2012 provided much needed clarity for hospitals, taxing bodies, courts, and government agencies. The Legislature, Governor's Office, Attorney General, Department of Revenue, Municipal League and consumer advocacy groups all participated in defining charity care and the other requirements in the 2012 legislation that is now Illinois law. The State clearly outlined the threshold non-profit healthcare providers must meet to maintain their tax exempt status and Carle has been exceeding that amount for years based on its charity care alone. There are other activities that count toward community benefit, and when these figures are added, Carle exceeds the exemption requirements by a factor of 10.

At Carle each day we welcome babies into the world, save the lives of loved ones, and strive to make life healthier for all who come through our doors. Carle will continue providing the very best care we can, recruiting physicians, nurses and staff, and investing in this community whether that's through charity care, donations, clinical programs or its facilities. Carle is here for this community and we will continue to be here for generations to come.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, be assured we are proud of what's happening at Carle and grateful to have such an incredible health system right here in east central Illinois. Thank you for your continued support of Carle and our mission.

Sincerely,
Phil Blankenburg
Chair
The Carle Foundation Board of Trustees

Fiscal Year Charity Care at Cost  
2007 $7.6 million Carle Foundation Hospital Only
2008 $9.9 million Carle Foundation Hospital Only
2009 $9.0 million Carle Foundation Hospital Only
2010 $11.5 million Carle Foundation Hospital Only
2011 $10.0 million (6-month reporting) Carle Foundation Hospital Only
2011 full year $25.2 million Carle Foundation Hospital
Carle Physician Group
2012 $32.6 million Carle Foundation Hospital
Carle Physician Group

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