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Texas senator wants to guarantee hospitals do their share of charity care
Sept 27, 2009; Star Telegram | The well muscled lobbyists of the hospital industry better not get too comfy. They may have won over (or outlasted) Baucus and Grassley on charity care requirements in the national health reform legislation, but state AGs and some state legislators are not yet won over. Texas state senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) wants the state’s oversight of nonprofit hospitals brought up to date, especially the lack of state powers to do anything if a nonprofit hospital is found to be falling short of its minimal charity care and community benefit requirements. The hospital association lobbyist didn’t seem perturbed that the AG’s regular audits of nonprofit hospitals lacked concomitant powers to do something about hospitals noncompliance, suggesting only that perhaps standards for self-dealing ought to be addressed as an alternative to focusing on the charity care noncompliance issue.—Rick Cohen

HHS Awards $46 Million in Recovery Act Funds to Create Jobs and Spur Economic Improvement
Sept 30, 2009; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services | The Department of Health and Human Services has announced its grantees for $46 million in stimulus funding for the Strengthening Communities Fund, meant to build the capacities of nonprofit organizations and state and local governments working with nonprofits to assist low income people during the recovery. The HHS press release provides a list of the winning applicants, but not descriptions of their winning proposals. The one-time two-year SCF grants, replacing the Bush Administration’s Compassion Capital Grants for faith-based groups, support faith-based and secular organizations that will provide training and technical assistance to other nonprofits. State nonprofit associations are well represented in this grants list: the New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits ($250,000), the Donors Forum of Illinois ($250,000), the Maine Association of Nonprofits ($250,000), the Colorado Nonprofit Association ($250,000), the South Carolina Association of Nonprofits ($200,487), the New York Council of Nonprofits ($1,000,000), and the Michigan Nonprofit Association ($1,000,000). United Ways in Toledo ($202,762) and Central Alabama ($973,584) are slated to receive SCF funding. Despite SCF’s origins as an alternative to CCF, faith-based TA providers also received support: the Conference of Churches in Hartford, CT (($250,000); the Iowa Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives ($1,000,000); and the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston ($1,000,000). Foundation grantmakers also received SCF support: the Erie Community Foundation ($1,000,000); the Northland Foundation in Duluth, MN ($879,903); the Orangewood Children’s Foundation in Santa Ana CA ($1,000,000); the Chiesman Foundation for Democracy in Rapid City, SD ($999,932); the Telluride Foundation in Colorado ($999,684); and the Initiative Foundation in Little Falls, MN ($1,000,000). Now we will try to determine what these groups were funded to do—and for whom.—Rick Cohen


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