Cook County Commissioner Proposes Hospital Charity Care Standard

Cook County Commissioner Proposes Hospital Charity Care Standard

An ordinance requiring public hospitals to provide more charity care is expected to be introduced tomorrow to the Cook County board.

Commissioner Larry Suffredin wants hospitals to provide at least $200 million in free care. Suffredin's move follows a state ruling that upheld a county's right to tax hospitals if they don't meet charity standards.

"If they want to keep their exemptions, they're under a legal obligation now to do something and I'm giving them a way to document it and make it easier for them to be able to keep that exemption going forward," Sufferdin says.

Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council's CEO Kevin Scanlan says that any additional financial strain could force some hospitals to cut programs. He says healthcare is a lot like politics: local needs vary by community and resources should be used accordingly.