SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A group of ralliers claiming Ellis Hospital is using its tax-exemption status to profit instead of contributing to charity on Wednesday.
In the beginning, there were about 40 or 50 people here, most of them members of a healthcare union, protesting a variety of issues – including that Ellis Hospital should give back more to the community.
“They’re paying no taxes, that’s ok, they’re a not-for-profit but they’re returning very little back to this community,” Mark Bergen, 1199 Vice President, said.
Bergen is part of the healthcare workers union that’s rallying outside Ellis Hospital, a non-profit that’s exempt from paying taxes because they’re considered a benefit to the community.
To justify the exemptions, hospitals have to give back.
“We think there’s a large gap between what they get as a tax write off and what they put back.”
Not so, says a representative.
“Ellis Medical’s contribution to the community is in its 3,300+ jobs, $215 million in annual payroll, $132 million in annual spending for supplies, and $6 million in charity care provided annually, which together far exceed whatever it might pay in property taxes,” Bergen said.
The union claims that Ellis donates less than one percent of its operating expenses when the national average is seven percent.
“They’re putting back less than one penny for every $100 into this community so workers are working multiple jobs.”
Ellis maintains they reinvest any nominal profit they produce each year back into its operations and facilities in order to provide safe high-quality medical care to the community.
Ralliers are using Schenectady’s poverty to bolster their argument, saying the hospital should be giving more.