The value of Children's tax-exempt status
At Boston Children's Hospital, our vision is to advance pediatric care worldwide. Our four-part mission is to: 1) provide the highest quality of health care; 2) lead the way in research and discovery 3) educate the next generation of leaders in health care; and 4) enhance the health and well being of the children and families in our local community.
We were established as a hospital for poor urban children in 1869, and have grown from 20 beds to our current 397 beds. For 140 years, we have been delivering on our vision of advancing pediatric care with an impressive list of medical advances, from the first successful remission of leukemia in 1947 to our more recent successful correction of a heart defect in a fetus. We are New England's regional referral pediatric center and a safety net hospital for the most critically ill children and those from low-income families. We partner with the community to address the most pressing health care needs in surrounding neighborhoods. The hospital trains more pediatricians and has the largest research program of any other pediatric hospital. As a not-for-profit, all of the hospital's resources go toward supporting these goals.
Charitable not-for-profit organizations, such as Children's, are facing increased pressure from local, state and federal government to justify their tax exempt status. To meet the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) requirements to qualify as tax-exempt, the IRS looks at many factors, including the following:
- Operation of a full-time emergency room
- Provision of non-emergency services to Medicare and Medicaid recipients
- Maintenance of an open medical staff
- Be overseen by a board that includes independent civic leaders
- Provide medical training, education and research programs
Have a formal charity care policy
Boston Children's Hospital meets all of those criteria.
Nationally, 95 percent of all major academic medical centers have not-for-profit status. Certainly, the top academic hospitals as listed by U.S. News and World Report and other sources are all not-for-profits. Their not-for-profit status allows them to focus on their missions and not on meeting the quarterly demands of stockholders.