ABA Health eSource - Your link to the ABA's Health Law Section
April 2009 Volume 5 Number 8
Health Law Section News  April 3, 2009

Interest Group Communication Highlights

Resources & News


New BNA Products

CDC Public Health Law News

CDC Newsletter is a free electronic newsletter published weekly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Law Program


Chair's Column
By Vickie Yates Brown, Frost Brown Todd LLC, Louisville, KY

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, more commonly referred to as the “Stimulus Package,” seems to find its way into almost every conversation I have or meeting I attend. As details surface regarding stimulus particulars, its impact becomes more and more illusive. However, it is clear one significant component, the area of health informatics, will result in funding and have substantial impact. In this regard, we stand at a very important juncture: this impact can be especially constructive and beneficial to every American’s health or it can serve as little more than a maneuver to ration healthcare.

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Recent GAO Report reconfirms variations in measuring and reporting community benefit
By Gwen Spencer and Erin Couture, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Boston, MA

In September 2008, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its report entitled "Nonprofit Hospitals: Variation in Standards and Guidance Limits Comparison of How Hospitals Meet Community Benefit Requirements. Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, requested the report. The report reviews the current community benefit standard established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and examines other federal and state standards and guidance nonprofit hospitals use to define their community benefit activities and the associated costs. The report found a wide variation in how nonprofit hospitals define and account for their community benefit activities, including charity care. The report set the stage for continued dialogue in the community benefit reporting area.

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The IRS Final Hospital Report
By Laura Gabrysch, Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P., San Antonio, TX

The Internal Revenue Service (the “ IRS”) in February 2009 issued the Final Report on its Hospital Compliance Project (the “ Report”). This Report has been a long-time coming. The IRS commenced the hospital compliance project in May 2006 when it sent a questionnaire to 544 exempt hospitals asking questions about community benefit and executive compensation. The IRS had initiated the project because it wanted to gather information about how hospitals were fulfilling the community benefit standard and setting compensation levels. The community benefit standard is the legal standard for determining whether a hospital is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (the “ Code”). Because the community benefit standard is flexible, does not require a specific amount of charity care, and is based on facts and circumstances, the IRS was concerned that the standard did not distinguish exempt hospitals from for-profit hospitals and resulted in inconsistent reporting.

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Internships Wanted

The Health Law Section is looking for firms or organizations that offer summer law student internships. If your firm or organization has openings for interns, please send the name of the entity, whether the internship is paid or unpaid and an email contact to Simeon Carson at Simeon.Carson@americanbar.org. The information will be posted on the Health Law Section Law Student web page as an information service for law students.

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Tax & Accounting Interest Group

The Tax & Accounting Interest Group focuses on the various challenges facing the Healthcare industry from a tax and regulatory perspective.

The IG is led by Chair Laura Gabrysch, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, San Antonio, TX and Vice-Chairs Michael A. Clark, Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP, Chicago, IL; Ralph DeJong, McDermott Will & Emery LLP, Chicago, IL; Judith E. Kindell, Internal Revenue Service, Washington , DC and Gwendolyn Spencer, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC, Boston, MA.

If you would like to join the Interest Group, continue by clicking the following link: Health Law Section IG Sign-up Form.

ABA eSource Editorial Board

The ABA Health eSource Editorial Board is led by Chair Lisa Genecov, Locke Lord Bissell and Liddell LLP, Dallas, TX and editorial board members Michael E. Clark, Hamel Bowers & Clark LLP, Houston, TX; Adrienne Dresevic, The Health Law Partners, PC, Southfield, MI; Marla Durben Hirsch, Potomac, MD and Conrad Meyer, Chaffe McCall, LLP, New Orleans, LA.

Do you want to communicate your ideas to thousands of other members through the wonders of cyberspace? To contribute a newsletter article on a health law topic, send us your ideas to Simeon.Carson@americanbar.org
The opinions expressed are those of the authors and shall not be construed to represent the policies or positions of the ABA or the ABA Health Law Section.
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