WGH expands comments on on tax issue

The chairman of the Warren General Hospital Board of Directors has expanded on his comments with regard to the Warren County Board of Assessment Appeals’ findings of fact filed last Friday in the Warren County Court of Common Pleas.

In a statement made available to the Times Observer Thursday afternoon, Tim Bevevino said, “The findings contain numerous inaccuracies and misstatements of the applicable law.

“Moreover, despite the Board of Assessment Appeals claim that the findings were based upon information presented by the Hospital, many of the assertions stated in the Board of Appeals findings cannot be reconciled with the information presented at the hearing before the Board of Appeals in this matter.”

Bevevino continued, “Since no evidence or testimony was presented at the hearing before the Board in opposition of the tax exempt status of the Hospital, the basis for some of the Board’s findings is completely undocumented and unsupported by evidence of record.

“The Hospital also believes that the Board misapplied the legal test set forth in Hospital Utilization Project v. Commonwealth, referred to as the HUP Test. For instance, the Board of Appeals disregarded the Medicare and Medicaid losses absorbed by the Hospital, which exceed over $3M annually, in direct contradiction to the law of this Commonwealth.”

He contended that the county board has made “a concerted effort from the outset of these proceedings to obtain a particular result – to obtain additional tax revenue – and not to hear and consider the evidence actually presented by the hospital.”

As he said in response to a request for comment from the Times Observer on Tuesday, the hospital plans to rebut the board’s filings as misstatements and misapplication of the HUP test.

“The Hospital remains confident that it satisfies each element of the HUP Test and Pennsylvania law and that it is entitled to retain its tax exempt status,” Bevevino said.