Nonprofit hospitals in Oregon are increasingly pushing to take newly acquired property off public tax rolls, and assessors in cash-strapped counties are pushing back.

Nationwide, hospitals are swallowing private practices, hiring their practitioners, absorbing their patients, and buying or leasing buildings and equipment.

Counties have long granted charitable tax exemptions to nonprofit hospitals in exchange for their care for the poor. But health reform’s coordinated care model along with changes to Medicare are driving mergers between hospitals and private practices to an all-time high.

In Oregon, county assessors are fighting the trend. Douglas County recently denied Roseburg’s Mercy Medical Center’s request to extend its exemption to four properties worth $18 million. Hood River and Josephine counties, currently gathering information, may follow suit on similar requests, assessors there say.

Oregon’s county assessors challenge hospital acquisitions’ new tax breaks, murky law

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