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Healthcare, Property Tax Exemptions and Implications from Recent Court Cases
Unformatted Document Text:  20 trained and credentialed in exercise physiology or other health disciplines, and trained to handle emergencies. 63 Approximately 75% of hospital-based medical fitness centers are nonprofit, but not all of them are exempt from property taxes. 64 The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), an industry trade group representing commercial fitness centers, has vigorously lobbied to eliminate tax breaks granted to nonprofit fitness centers. The association maintains a website, “Fair Competition University” designed to “provide IHRSA members with the training and materials necessary to fight unfair competition from tax-exempt organizations.” 65 In two recent cases, one in Nebraska and the other in New Jersey, hospital-based health fitness centers had their property tax exemptions revoked. In the Nebraska case, examined in detail further on in this paper, a commercial center owner and member of IHRSA, lobbied aggressively to have the exemption retracted. The significant issue in the New Jersey case was the degree to which the free- standing wellness center, located approximately nine and one-half miles from the hospital campus, was determined to be integral to the hospital. The court relied on New Jersey, Tennessee, and Indiana cases in creating an analytical framework to distinguish “facilities serving hospital purposes from facilities merely housing health-related activities.” 66 Among the components of the framework were the nature and extent of the integration 63 Carey Wing, Interview, Executive Director, Medical Fitness Association, Richmond, VA, October 12, 2005.According to Ms. Wing, these standards for the model medical fitness center were to be presented to the membership at its conference in November 2005, and implemented in 2006. 64 Popke, "Healthy Prognosis," 76. 65 IHRSA, Fair Competition University, Available: http://csdemo80.citysoft.com/index.cfm?nodeID=7, November 16 2005. 66 Hunterdon Medical Center v. Readington Township 22 N.J. Tax 302. (Tax Court of New Jersey 2005)

Authors: Fanning, Mary.
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20
trained and credentialed in exercise physiology or other health disciplines, and trained to
handle emergencies.
Approximately 75% of hospital-based medical fitness centers are nonprofit, but
not all of them are exempt from property taxes.
The International Health, Racquet &
Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), an industry trade group representing commercial fitness
centers, has vigorously lobbied to eliminate tax breaks granted to nonprofit fitness
centers. The association maintains a website, “Fair Competition University” designed to
“provide IHRSA members with the training and materials necessary to fight unfair
competition from tax-exempt organizations.”
In two recent cases, one in Nebraska and
the other in New Jersey, hospital-based health fitness centers had their property tax
exemptions revoked. In the Nebraska case, examined in detail further on in this paper, a
commercial center owner and member of IHRSA, lobbied aggressively to have the
exemption retracted.
The significant issue in the New Jersey case was the degree to which the free-
standing wellness center, located approximately nine and one-half miles from the hospital
campus, was determined to be integral to the hospital. The court relied on New Jersey,
Tennessee, and Indiana cases in creating an analytical framework to distinguish “facilities
serving hospital purposes from facilities merely housing health-related activities.”
Among the components of the framework were the nature and extent of the integration
63
Carey Wing, Interview, Executive Director, Medical Fitness Association, Richmond, VA,
October 12, 2005.According to Ms. Wing, these standards for the model medical fitness center were to be
presented to the membership at its conference in November 2005, and implemented in 2006.
64
Popke, "Healthy Prognosis," 76.
65
IHRSA, Fair Competition University, Available:
http://csdemo80.citysoft.com/index.cfm?nodeID=7, November 16 2005.
66
Hunterdon Medical Center v. Readington Township 22 N.J. Tax 302. (Tax Court of New Jersey
2005)


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