Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Melissa Merz
877-844-5461 (TTY)

February 13, 2006


I have recently become aware of ads, sponsored by a group from Indiana called the Fairness, running on Chicago and Washington, D.C., radio and television.  These ads attack the charity care and billing practices of tax-exempt Catholic hospitals. 

I want make it very clear that while I am actively working to improve the level of charity care provided and billing and collection practices of tax-exempt hospitals in the state, I did not participate in the creation of these ads, nor do I support the broadcasting of these ads.  I do not condone this attack on Catholic hospitals.

My legislative reform effort follows years of investigation, the comprehensive study of a task force of experts and the extensive experience of my office’s Health Care Bureau.  My effort is intended to set a clear standard for tax-exempt hospitals to follow and, consequently, to improve the provision of care for the poor and uninsured.  The legislation is specifically crafted to consider the mission and the work of tax-exempt hospitals and to allow them to preserve their tax-exempt status in order to build on their current efforts to provide care to those who need it. 

It is unfortunate that the Fairness is using my efforts to reform hospital charity care and billing policies as cover for their attack on Catholic hospitals. 

My Office is meeting with legislators, hospitals and community groups to craft this legislation to improve health care in Illinois.  As part of this effort, we recognize and respect the mission of all of Illinois’ tax-exempt hospitals, including the many Catholic hospitals.  Unfortunately, the Fairness’s ads do nothing to contribute to this dialogue.


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