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Valley View Made to Return $4.8 Million to Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital

Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital is asking for $7 million back from Will County taxing bodies since the hospital meets new state standards for tax-exempt status, officials said.

Valley View School District 365U will have to pay back $4.8 million to Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, now that the nonprofit hospital has tax-exempt status from the state of Illinois.

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Will County taxing bodies owe the hospital a total of $7 million, Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital CEO Rick Mace recently wrote in a letter to the hospital's board of directors. The hospital has paid property taxes since it was built in 2008. The $7 million amount represents taxes paid in the past three years. 

"It's going to impact us pretty heavily," Gary Grizaffi, assistant superintendent of administrative services, told the Valley View school board Monday.

Last year, the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation to clarify property tax exemptions for hospitals, Mace wrote. Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital "not only met, but far exceeded" the new requirements, he said.  

"We believed that in our situation, the morally right decision was to pay our taxes, under protest, to Will County in full, letting the county know we were certain the hospital would be recognized as deserving tax-exempt status," Mace wrote. "We fully expected to receive a refund of our tax payment."

Under state law, the hospital can recoup three years worth of property taxes. Grizaffi said the recouping of previously paid property taxes is the "crux of the problem." 

"Moving forward, we'd be okay with the idea that they're now tax-exempt," Grizaffi said. "Going back really leaves us high and dry." 

The bill won't go away, Grizaffi said, and the school district currently has three years to pay back the $4.8 million. Grizaffi said he hopes that time period is "stretched further." 

There is "small solace," he said, in that Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital is waiving a 6 percent interest rate on the $4.8 million. 

Mace wrote that county government leaders are the hospital's partners, he said, and "we have full confidence they will work expeditiously on this effort."

As the board "know(s) well, $7 million is not an insignificant amount," he wrote. 

"It translates into emergency care 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for our community’s most underserved residents. Unfortunately, every dollar tied up elsewhere is a dollar not spent on sick and needy patients. We have conveyed those concerns, and we believe those who serve us have heard."

Moving forward, the hospital still has properties that will be paying taxes, but the hospital portion is exempt. 

In a similar move, Edward Hospital is asking for a $1 million refund from Plainfield School District 202. 

Rich Johnson March 13, 2013 at 06:06 PM
Or maybe Adventist could pay for the $75,000 in sound system upgrades needed for the auditorium at BHS. Maybe then, we wouldn't have to rent speakers for every music concert and musical due to the antiquated audio system.
Kristie March 13, 2013 at 06:40 PM
The para pros that you're referring to are probably required by a student's IEP. I'm not sure how long ago you were in school but maybe it was before IDEA.
Bob Jonas March 13, 2013 at 06:54 PM
Rich, not sure why you feel Adventist is responsible for the spending habits of BHS
Jimmy J March 13, 2013 at 09:50 PM
IEP, IDEA, para pros? are they improving results? I wouldn't send my kid to a public school considering the output and wasteful spending. I also feel that the bureaucracy could be cut at Valley View. Maybe they should consult with a private school to learn their "secrets." Why not ask the Valley View Ed Foundation to pay for the sound system? They'll probably figure a way to get the money from the taxpayers anyway.
jaskie1505 March 13, 2013 at 10:56 PM
The hospital supports a number of not for profit groups and fund raisers so why should they also give away their tax dollars to by speakers for the High School. Doesn't make much sense to me.
Kristie March 13, 2013 at 10:58 PM
Yes they are. Before IDEA, children with special needs weren't allowed to attend school. An IEP ensures that the children get the services that they needs. The para pro is there to help the student(s).
Resident March 14, 2013 at 01:33 AM
Jimmy maybe you should research your facts before you just ASSUME you know what you are talking about. IEP (Individual Education Plan) are for students with special education needs. The teaching assistants you are referring to are in place to ensure that the students are getting their educational needs met. I hope that you never have to worry that your child has special needs and is just left to flounder because YOU think the paraprofessionals are not necessary. I take offense to you wanting people to lose their job when you are not educated yourself on what they actually do for the students of Valley View.
Resident March 14, 2013 at 01:37 AM
You are right Bob, taxpayers should start holding Valley View School Board members and Senior Leadership accountable. They have been allowed to play fast and loose with taxpayers money for FAR too long now.
my opinion March 14, 2013 at 03:10 AM
The big question is.......where is the district going to get the $4.8 million to pay back the hospital? Wasn't this years budget running a shortfall before this happened.
Jimmy J March 14, 2013 at 04:17 AM
Cut the spending.
Beth M. Downs March 14, 2013 at 08:33 AM
I am not at all impressed with Adventist Bolingbrook's idea of triage -- which is to ask for money upfront and having a credit card machine that they point to before a nurse even sees you. This is not at ALL conducive to proper healthcare! I would rather drive 20 miles/30 minutes to Cadence Central DuPage Hospital for an ER visit than drive 3 miles to Adventist Bolingbrook -- and much of that reason is their poor quality of ER care. When I was admitted, the nursing staff was good at Adventist -- but I'd rather be admitted at CDH where I know that I will be taken care of all-around. Try getting financial assistance from Adventist! it's next-to-impossible as they don't even have a charity program -- probably because they're such a new hospital... but it wouldn't in the least bit surprise me if it was because they don't qualify for programs with the state due to their sub-standard ER care.
Beth M. Downs March 14, 2013 at 08:36 AM
Hopefully they get that 4 million back and can improve their ER department further. One time when I was there, I was put in a room that doubles as a STORAGE CLOSET because they ran out of proper rooms. Paramedics kept knocking on the door to come in and get splints, crutches, and other supplies while I was there waiting to be seen by a doctor. I complained and apparently they changed this practice, but it was infuriating, insulting, and absolutely out-of-line.
SLAG March 14, 2013 at 12:20 PM
My concern about this whole incident is that our property taxes will increase to cover the money due the hospital from VVSD. I'm sure the school district has already spent this money.
Bob Jonas March 14, 2013 at 12:51 PM
Apparently they were asking you to pay ahead of time Beth because you were wasting ER time and taking away care from someone who really needed it. How is it an emergency if you can leisurely drive 30 minutes to get to a hospital? If you were just sick, then you should have scheduled an appointment with your family doctor. Oh wait, maybe the family Dr. didn't want to see you either because you didn't pay your bill. My family and I have used the ER when it truly was an emergency and never once had an experience like you describe above.
Bob Jonas March 14, 2013 at 12:53 PM
I guess this must be true because if you read it on the Internet, especially on a blog on the Patch, it must be TRUE. NOT
Rich Johnson March 14, 2013 at 12:57 PM
Bob Jonas- send me a copy of the hospital's latest financial statement. I don't believe any non-profit that occupies a large footprint of land should get off scott-free on real estate taxes. Tell me how this refund is beneficial to the community as a whole, given the ongoing cuts in state school funding? If Advocate is "concerned" for the community, I'm not seeing it.
Bob Jonas March 14, 2013 at 01:09 PM
Rich, when did I become your servant. If you want a copy of the hospital financials go get it from the source. The point I'm making and others is the school and other entities received money's that they should not have received in the first place. They were also clearly warned that they more then likely would have to pay it back. They should have budgeted and planned accordingly. Until the taxing laws change the money is rightfully the hospital's. If you had a tax refund due you Rich, and the state gave it to someone else, you would want it back as well, regardless of how in impacted the person having to pay it back. This is the schools problem. Not the hospitals. They played by the rules. If you don't like the rules, get out there and work to change them.
Rich Johnson March 14, 2013 at 02:10 PM
So, Bob, what you are saying is that Advocate only cares about itself as an entity and not the greater good. Thanks for clarifying that for me. Such negativity... Maybe you should talk to someone at Advocate about that, but make sure you have your insurance card or checkbook first. By the way, my daughter was taken to Advocate by ambulance for a Grand Mal seizure, during which she smacked her head on a concrete floor. The first person I spoke to in the ER when I arrived (after the ambulance) was a financial rep wanting a credit card or check because they couldn't locate my daughter's insurance card on her person (it was in her wallet). They wouldn't even give me info on her condition until that was resolved. That's a great way to treat someone in an Emergency situation...
jaskie1505 March 14, 2013 at 02:26 PM
Rich, I'm sorry if your having problems with the Advocate Hospital Systems. They are a good organization so not sure why they are treating you like that. Now back to Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital. They are a great corporate citizen. They are sponsors for the March of Dimes, Power Connection, St. Balderick's, H2O, Rotary Clubs in the area, and numerous other organizations. They were recently recognized in the Chicago Tribune for the amount of free patient care they provide and their staff has ranked high on many of the numerous health association surveys given over the last couple of years. That being said, not sure why you feel the hospital should have to pay for the sins of the Valley View School District and their board. VVSD should be responsible to plan their own budget, based on their known income. Just like you and I have to do with our own budgets. We buy what we need and only get what we want if we can afford it. Sometimes we have to even scale back on what is needed due to lack of funds. Maybe VVSD should learn to do the same.
BBRes March 14, 2013 at 02:35 PM
I don’t have any idea what you went to the ER for but I know in my personal experience, I had nothing but stellar care from the Adventist Bolingbrook when I was taken there in the midst of a heart attack. When I arrived by ambulance, I was seen in the ER for less than five minutes and whisked directly to the cardiac cath lab where the lab was prepped and ready for me. Less than 30 minutes from call to 911 to arriving to the cath lab meant no heart damage. I never had anyone ask me for money or even my insurance information. That was all taken care of afterwards.
Sharon Paul March 14, 2013 at 02:39 PM
Not when it comes to teachers dealing with kids that have AD&HD and are violent. These teachers needs helpers in the room. Bolingbrook high school has a jail in it. They give them a beautiful new school and they are making it bigger and I bet half the kids don't really live in that district. I'm glad a lot of the trouble is out of our high school in Romeoville, but look where all the new and improvments are going.
Sharon Paul March 14, 2013 at 02:40 PM
Is there anything else you wouldlike for that school. Don't you think the tax payers have paid enough
Sharon Paul March 14, 2013 at 02:43 PM
Maybe everyone else does not make the money you do to send you kids to private school. By the way is it a Catholic school. I would never take that chance. Glad my kids are out of these schools.
Nikki Eken March 14, 2013 at 05:14 PM
Ha! Good point, Rich.
Jeanette C March 14, 2013 at 05:48 PM
I believe that each paraprofessional does his/her job differently. My son had one that was wonderful and excelled at her job every day. As a result, he excelled at his education. This year he was assigned someone new and he's failing miserably at two subjects. How does this happen? Why are the nonperformers allowed to stay and get a paycheck when they can't deliver acceptable results? It should be treated like any other job - you perform, you keep your job. If you don't perform - then you're done. Sadly, three meetings at the school didn't help. Public schools just aren't what they used to be.
Barbara Palmer March 14, 2013 at 07:05 PM
I suggest that everyone go to the next Valley View School District Board meeting and ask the elected members why they didn't put the money in escrow. If they can't give a straight answer then vote them out. As to Jimmy's comment that public schools could learn something from private schools that would be futile. Private schools can get rid of problem students by expelling them. Public schools have to accept everyone.
Jimmy J March 14, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Public schools waste more money because they rely on a steady stream of tax dollars. They don't exercise good fiscal controls. They spend it like it's "other people's money." Also, the teachers' unions work for the benefit of the unions ..not the students. Private schools have much more going for them than just being able to suspend problem students. Private schools are much better stewards of the funds they have to work with. The results prove it.
Jimmy J March 17, 2013 at 04:56 PM
If we had "School Choice" legislation more parents could choose a school outside of the government provided schools. Contact your legislators and tell them to pass meaningful School Choice legislation.
my opinion March 19, 2013 at 12:45 PM
Doesn't the district have a contract with a lobbying firm? Shouldn't that firm see this legislation coming? If not other than taking the president and vice president out to dinner, what use is this firm? Someone above mentioned holding the money in escrow, isn't that what the district should have done?
Jessica Lynn March 20, 2013 at 01:55 AM
Unfortunately. You must not have been following the valley view news lately. They are getting rid of over 100 teacher aides.... And I won't be the "overpaid, lazy, selfish" (sarcasm) teachers who suffer.... It will be ALL students not jut the students who require that extra assistance DRASTICALLY!

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