Bozeman Health File

A woman leaves Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital on, Nov. 12, 2020.

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Montana health officials are proposing to oversee and set standards for the charitable contributions that nonprofit hospitals make in their communities each year to justify their access to millions of dollars in tax exemptions.

The proposal is part of a package of legislation that the state Department of Public Health and Human Services will ask lawmakers to approve when they convene in January. It comes two years after a state audit called on the department to play more of a watchdog role and nine months after a KHN investigation found some of Montana’s wealthiest hospitals lag behind state and national averages in community giving.

Montana state Sen. Bob Keenan, a Republican who has questioned whether nonprofit hospitals deserve their charity status, said the proposal is a start that could be expanded on later.


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