A decorahnews.com reader suggests: "The hospital gives an amount equal to or more than the tax portion in charity care, therefore as taxpayers we are only really paying for the charity care and not really supporting the hospital.
Mr. WMC Answer Person says: Your figures are right, but I will argue loudly with you about your conclusion.
First, the facts. Winneshiek Medical Center received $456,000 in county property tax revenues in 2011. The hospital budget showed over $1 million in "charity care."
But you've drawn a correlation between the two figures where none exists. The property tax collections were never intended to reimburse the hospital for the "charity care" it provides.
First of all, the term "charity care" is slightly misleading. A better term is "uncompensated care." In other words, we're talking about situations in which the hospital did not get paid. Some of this figure includes what you might consider "donations" or "charity," but not all of it.
Secondly, all hospitals—whether county-supported or not—incur "charity care" write-offs. True, some hospitals give more "charity care" than others, but they are not always the publicly-funded hospitals.
Finally, some hospital officials have confused the situation by talking about the rise in uncompensated care as a reason to justify accepting the county tax funds. This allows them to partition the money into only being about charity care and not being about giving county residents a voice in the operations of their hospital.