Governor Nathan Deal signed HB 769, the rural hospital organization tax credit legislation on May 2, according to Georgia Heart Hospital Program director of marketing, Kate Saylor.
The bill will impact Liberty Regional Medical Hospital in Hinesville, Wayne Memorial Hospital in Jesup and Effingham Hospital in Effingham County.
HB 769, which will be effective July 1, will enhance the Georgia HEART RHO tax credit by increasing the tax credit percentage for contributions to RHOs from 90 percent to 100 percent by allowing owners of pass-through entities to qualify as eligible contributors, and by removing the maximum credit limits on non-corporate contributions to rural hospitals after June 30 of each year, through 2021.
The tax credit is designed to get more dollars to rural hospitals so they can pay off debt related to uncompensated care, improve their facilities and in many cases remain open.
According to the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program, 80 rural hospitals have closed nationwide since 2010. Georgia is third in the nation in closures with six.
According to the Georgia Department of Community Health, LRMC is ranked 20 out of 58 hospitals on the list based on financial need. Wayne County Memorial Hospital is ranked 21.
Saylor said once the bill is signed, Georgia HEART will open a section of its website. Taxpayers can make a ‘HEART Appointment’ to instruct HEART to submit a post-June 30 tax credit pre-approval application to the Georgia Department of Revenue.
“Once the link to the HEART Appointment section of our website is available, we will send it to our participating hospitals, past donors, and our state-wide tax preparer and investment advisor contacts,” Saylor said.
LRMC Executive Director Mike Hester said the rural hospital tax credit and the LRMC Foundation’s Capital Campaign drive will be used to build a hospital based medical oncology center.