Chuck Adams Editorial

Many of us never think of a hospital until we need one. But when a family member or friend has a medical issue, we expect high-quality, affordable care close to home.

Access to care has become difficult for many communities with the unfortunate closure of seven rural hospitals since early 2013. This represents a loss of almost 10 percent of all rural hospitals in Georgia. These closures, coupled with the fact that many others have had to reduce services, mean many patients must travel great distances to receive care.

Losing even more of our rural facilities would be detrimental to the state of Georgia. Thankfully, our lawmakers realize the importance of hospitals in a community and went to work to help make Georgia a leader in rural health care. During the 2016 General Assembly, the state legislature passed the Rural Hospital Tax Credit Program, which has provided a remarkable opportunity for Georgia’s rural hospitals. Legislative improvements made in 2018 such as making the tax credit equal to the amount donated resulted in the program being an overwhelming success for hospitals and taxpayers. Millions of dollars have been donated to our hospitals, helping them provide better access to care, make important infrastructure upgrades, and improve facilities that will directly benefit the hospitals.

The hospital tax program is a win-win for hospitals as well as the patients they serve. The program awards state income tax credits to individuals and corporate taxpayers who contribute to the 58 qualified rural hospital organizations (RHO) in Georgia. According to Georgia HEART (Helping Enhance Access to Rural Treatment), from 2018 through 2021, Georgia taxpayers can access a maximum of $60 million of RHO tax credits each year. The General Assembly placed limits on individuals and corporations to ensure that as many Georgians as possible could support rural hospitals. The 2018 cap was met within days of the legislative effective date, illustrating the fact that communities all over Georgia recognize the importance of rural hospitals and the care they provide. More than 90 percent of all donations came from individuals. 

It is no secret that hospitals are important to their communities. Beyond caring for the sick and injured, in many regions, hospitals are the largest employer. This is especially true in rural areas. The latest Georgia Hospital Association Economic Impact Report indicates our hospitals have made a $49 billion impact on the economy, with rural hospitals accounting for over $5.5 billion of the total. Rural hospitals provide almost 30,000 full time jobs and support almost 70,000 jobs in their respective communities. 

The Georgia Hospital Association encourages all Georgians and corporations to consider donating in 2019 to receive this tax credit. Please contact your local hospital or to find out how you can support these vital community resources. 

Rural Legislative Updates

House Bill 769 Signed by Governor Deal, will change Qualified Rural Hospital Organization Expense Tax Credit

The Governor signed House Bill 769 on May 2, 2018.  This bill is effective on July 1, 2018 and makes changes to the Qualified Rural Hospital Organization Expense Tax Credit.  Along with other changes, this bill changes the amount of the credit from 90% of the donation to 100% of the donation.  On July 1, 2018 and provided the relevant caps have not been reached, any individual donor that made or makes a donation from January 1, 2018 until June 30, 2018 will be allowed 100% of the donation that was used to arrive at the amount of credit allowed during that period (up to $11,111 for a married filing joint taxpayer and $5,556 for all other individual taxpayers).  Also corporations will be allowed the 100% credit as well, subject to the 75% of actual tax liability limit.  The Department is working on system changes and will notify each donor accordingly provided the relevant caps are not met.  Also, on Sunday July 1, 2018 taxpayers will be able to request contributions using the new limits provided in House Bill 769.

CMS Rural Health Strategy

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has launched the agency’s first Rural Health Strategy to help improve access to high quality, affordable healthcare in rural communities. The strategy is intended to provide a proactive and strategic focus on healthcare issues across rural America to ensure the nearly one in five individuals who live in these areas have access to care that meets their needs. 

REMC Alert is Ready

Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Ron Kind (D-WI) and Terri Sewell (D-AL) introduced the Rural Emergency Medical Center (REMC) Act of 2018 (H.R. 5678) to establish a new rural facility designation under the Medicare program, allowing facilities meeting certain requirements to provide 24/7 emergency department care and other outpatient services in vulnerable rural communities and receive enhanced reimbursement rates. This bill aligns with the recommendation made by the AHA’s Task Force on Ensuring Access in Vulnerable Communities, which issued a report in 2016, recommending the establishment of a new Medicare designation for 24/7 emergency care facilities in rural communities, among other options. H.R. 5678 pays a fixed facility fee plus outpatient rates. 


Executive Committee


Joe Ierardi

Wayne Memorial Hospital



Regional Trustees

David Sanders

Fannin Regional Hospital

Blue Ridge

Jan Gaston

Jasper Memorial Hospital


Mike Hester

Liberty Regional Medical Center


Robert Sellers

Optim Medical Center - Screven


At Large Trustees

David Campbell

Perry Hospital


Matt Gorman

Floyd Polk Medical Center



Jon Green

Bleckley Memorial Hospital


Lou Semrad

Jefferson Hospital



Kim Gilman

Phoebe Worth Medical Center


Payroll Deduction Calculator (password protected)
Department of Revenue Proposed Contribution Timeline
Center for Rural Health Rural Hospital Tax Credit Program EligibilityKeri Conley, Associate General Counsel &
Carie Summers, VP Healthcare Financing, Georgia Hospital Association

Eligibility Flow Chart for SB 258- Rural Hospital Tax Credit Program
Grassroots Fundraising - Patti Lyons, Executive Partner, Pride Philanthropy
Rural Hospital Tax Credit: Legal Considerations - Sarah F. Kuipers, Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP
Tax and Record Keeping for SB 258 - Jim Creamer, Partner & Bert Bennett, Partner, Draffin & Tucker
Georgia Rural Hospital Tax Credit Program (SB 258) - Audio File - C. Bert Bennett, Partner, Draffin & Tucker

Year-End Celebrating Our Success 09-07-16

Legislation enacted as part of the Balanced Budget Act (BBA) of 1997 authorized States to establish a State FLEX Program under which certain facilities participating in Medicare can become CAHS.  The following providers may be eligible to become CAHs:

  • currently participating Medicare hospitals;
  • hosptials that ceased operation after 11/29/1989; or
  • health clinics or centers (as defined by the State) that previously operated as a hospital before being downsized to a health clinic or center

For more information, click here