Small hospitals brace for new state tax

FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) - The Blanchard Valley Hospital is figuratively and literally a part of this mid-sized Hancock County city, and so are its finances.

Chief executive Scott Malaney opposes a new assessment on hospital expenses that the state will begin collecting this year. Malaney views the fee as little more than a tax on his nonprofit operation. He said 1.52 percent of expenses this year and 1.61 percent next year will amount to about $2.2 million for the health care network anchored by Blanchard Valley, which includes nursing homes also being assessed.

Hospital employees from around the state buried Gov. Ted Strickland with pleading e-mails and letters this summer in hopes of killing the assessment. But Strickland spokeswoman Amanda Wurst said there was much pain in this year's state budget.

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