Hello again, Janet Killingsworth here. I want to THANK YOU ALL
so much for the overwhelming response to my blog earlier this week. Our client, Drew Owen has expressed his gratitude of our willingness to help the rural hospitals in our growing state. Drew has been kind enough to put together some "talking points" to make it easier to explain how we as citizens of Georgia can do our part to help through our GA income tax payments. It takes less than 3 minutes to sign up at: https://www.georgiaheart.org/my_georgia_heart/tax_contribution_type.
There are ZERO service fees or charges to go through this site.
Here are the "talking points:"
Rural Healthcare nationally is in a major state of undeniable crisis
- o Nationally, 1 in 3 rural hospitals are "at risk" or "at high risk" of closing
- o In Georgia, that number is 2 out of 3...Georgia's healthcare is the 2nd worst in the entire country!
- When a rural hospital closes the impact is devastating
- o Thousands of people are often left without basic and emergency care
- The next closest hospital is usually 30-50 miles away
- o The economic implications are severe
- Rural hospitals are typically the largest and highest dollar employer in a community
- When the hospital closes, the doctors leave as do nurses who are not imbedded in the community creating a brain and economic drain on top of the financial impact of all those other lost salaries.
- Businesses like hotels, pharmacies and florists are all materially impacted
- Insurance premiums will go up for local businesses...especially ones that have higher risks associated with their employees.
- Companies will struggle to attract and retain talent in the absences of reasonable healthcare.
- o Since 2010, more than half of all hospitals that closed nationally have been in the South.
- Reasons for much of the problem
- o The people who have remained in rural communities tend to be older, are unhealthier, are poorer/high poverty instances and are less insured than ever before. Rural populations are in decline.
- Treatment for very sick people is more expense
- Bad/uncollectable debt is increasing
- Reimbursement rates are lower
- o The PPS (payment system) that was implemented was built on a high-volume metric that works for the urban settings but not for the low population rural settings.
- o Privately insured patients are opting to go elsewhere further hurting the hospital payer mix and hurting "perception"
- The solution
- o At the hospital level:
- Finding hospitals and administrators who recognize the problem for what it is and who are willing to explore innovative and structural changes that have a greater chance of generating sustainable revenue for the long term.
- Finding hospitals that don't merely use money and donations to fund ongoing operating losses
- Finding hospitals and administrators who recognize the answer to their problem is not a brand new $450,000 piece of medical equipment that they will never get enough use out of to justify the cost or a "cancer wing" that will never house enough patients to pay for itself
- Finding administrators willing to share their successes and collaborate to solve the challenges they face.
- If merely throwing money at the problem was going to work, it would have worked a LONG time ago.
- o At the State/donor level
- Georgia's political leadership has recognized the crisis the state is in and the potentially devastating impact on surrounding communities. They passed the GA Rural Healthcare 180 bill which allocates 60mm for 3 years to be used as tax credits to help the 50 most in need or at-risk rural hospitals in the state.
- I spoke to the Senate Majority Leader's chief of staff today and he informed me only $8,061,804 of the $60mm has been allocated for this year!
- This is a major priority for the Governor and Lt Governor.
- The bill effectively allows money to be redirected from the DOR General Fund directly to these needy hospitals.
- A jointly filing couple can apply to give up to $11,111 to a designated hospital for which they will receive (90%) a $10,000 GA tax credit good for 5 years. A single filer can do half of this.
- The out of pocket cost is approximately $700 to give $11,111!!
- o The $1,111 difference (b/w $11,111 gift and $10,000 credit) is Federally deductible
- Under full AMT, the donor actually makes ~$2,600!
- The donor must apply through the DOR (GA Tax Center) to first get approval (for which the only denial can come if the hospital has reached its annual $4mm limit (which none have)) which can take "up to" 30 days but we are hopeful applications will be processed much faster which would allow an opportunity to get money and credit in place for 2017.
Have a great week
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