Shetty partners’ charity status in question

| 24/02/2014

(CNS): On the eve of the much anticipated opening of the Cayman Islands Health city in East End news reports from the United States reveal that the Catholic health care provider and Dr Devi Shetty’s partner in the venture, Ascension Health is facing questions about its charitable status in that country. The hospital charity’s partnership with Shetty and the Narayana Health group in Cayman is not the only for profit venture that it is involved with. The Catholic health group and is America’s third-largest health care system earning  some $17 billion in revenue in the 2013 fiscal year with some $30 billion in assets.

Despite these earnings and assets, according to reports in the United States the group has retained its charitable status and does not pay taxes.

John Colombo, a University of Illinois law professor who studies tax-exempt organizations has questioned the charitable status of the St Louis based health firm. "Why is this organization charitable? In my view, it's not," he said John Colombo. "They provide health services for the poor, but it's not their primary mission anymore … Ascension has transformed itself over time to a major big business enterprise. I'm not denying that they do some charitable things, but so does Microsoft — and they pay taxes."

According to John D. Doyle, an Ascension executive vice president the company provided $525 million in charity care to the poor last year as well as $775 million in community benefits to the general public.

"As a tax-exempt organization, Ascension acts for the public good," he said. "We are a faith-based ministry that's trying hard every day to make sure we have the resources to take care of people."

Ascension Health Ministries is a corporation within the Roman Catholic Church that reports to the Vatican on its key transactions and must adhere to church directives such as the prohibition on abortions. It's affiliated with a religious order called the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, which created schools for orphans and hospitals for the poor.

The organisation is working with Shetty and at the time of the deal’s announcement officials from the Health city said the Ascension group will handle purchasing, facilities management and biomedical engineering services at the new hospital, while Dr Shetty’s group will provide technical input and run the facility. It was also stated that Ascension would also be supplying medical staff for the facility.

The official opening of the first phase of the project a 140 bed hospital is scheduled for Tuesday 25 February at 9am.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    This new hospital is owned by Ascension.  Ascension just pays Shetty's group to operate their hospital.

    What are these biomedical engineering services that will be performed at the hospital?

  2. Kadafe says:

    Welcome to cayman  Dr. Shetty. You will be safe here from the hogs trying to tax you.. Lol

  3. Anonymous says:

    Unlike Microsoft, which has 'owners' (ie, shareholders), Ascension does not.  Any surplus generated on any of its activities is directed to providing charitable and below cost medical services.   No 'owners' are profiting.  No individuals are earning a profit or getting cash dividends from Ascensions activities.   The only beneficiaries are organizations that receive charitable distributions and poorer individuals that receive lower cost healthcare.

    The venture in Cayman is to generate some surplus, but more importantly to partner with Dr Shetty to more understand how a lower cost medical facility can operate on practical terms.  

    The 'professor' quoted in the article should maybe attend some classes at his university if he fails to understand the distinction between Microsoft and Ascension.  Is this professor also going to attack St Jude's Children's Hospital as well, that they should pay taxes to the government from donations rather than providing free cancer treatment to children?

    Too bad this is the article running on the eve of the opening.  My grandparents in the US both benefited from Ascensions care.

    • Anonymous says:

      BS!!  Ascensions "Owners" are the Roman Catholic you really expect me to swallow that 17 BILLION $$  is not considered PROFIT and therefore should not be taxed??  It's WAY past time that religious organizations worldwide start paying taxes or showing their books to prove how this money is being utilized instead of just putting it down to "Doing the Lord's work"..

  4. Turtle Stew says:

    Wow 13 billion in revenue and we gave these guys consessions? Seems we cut our nose off just to spite our face – silly politicians. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    Religion . .  Power . . Money . . Control