The Mailbag: Is Firelands Regional Medical Center a non-profit?

Q: I'm confused. I have read that Firelands has donated money for the Perkin's High School football stadium. In the letters to the editor, one writer is upset because FRMC is a non-profit agency. Another writer states FRMC is for profit. Even the employees I talk to don't know. Which is it? - Mark in Castalia
Sarah Weber
Jan 15, 2012

 

Q:  I'm confused. I have read that Firelands has donated money for the Perkin's High School football stadium. In the letters to the editor, one writer is upset because FRMC is a non-profit agency. Another writer states FRMC is for profit. Even the employees I talk to don't know. Which is it? — Mark in Castalia

A: Hello Mark. There does seem to be a lot of confusion on this issue — and I'm afraid I won't be able to help clear things up very much. Firelands Regional Medical Center is listed as a corporation for non-profit, according to the Ohio Secretary of State's Office, and it does file an IRS 990 form (which is required for federally tax-exempt organizations). But, I'm told by Connie Lamb, VP of Marketing and Public Relations at Firelands Regional Medical Center, that the answer is not so simple. Here is how she responded to our inquiry:

"We appreciate the questions that are being raised about Firelands Regional Medical Center’s recent sponsorship donation to the Perkins High School Stadium project and the community’s interest in our support and involvement.  Mixed within those questions are incorrect statements which seem to be adding to some of the confusion.  Providing a simplistic answer regarding how nonprofits can donate to other nonprofits and what Firelands ’ intentions are with the recent donation deserve complete explanations.  Recognizing this, Chuck Stark, President & CEO of Firelands has put together information to address questions being raised and the Medical Center is working with the editorial staff of the Register to determine the best method to deliver this information to its readers."

The explanation, it seems, is quite lengthy, so FRMC is working with the Register's editorial staff to perhaps have it published as a guest editorial. The editors of that page will have the final say on if and when that will happen. I guess the best answer I can give you is to stay tuned.

 

The Mailbag is a daily feature on SanduskyRegister.com. Every weekday at noon, we will post one question-and-answer from a resident.

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Comments

Darkhorse

I think FRMC has a lot to explain as a non profit.  I am sure the IRS would like to hear the hospital's  explanation also.

lugnut2511

 Seems to me someones getting the run around and no one wants to say there's some sot of loop hole how some parts can be non profit and other parts of it can be for profit. I believe the non profit one went bye bye years ago when Providence was bought out by FRMC.

efitzthum

.

bigbirdblue

ok its all good that firelands is helpin perkins c.p helped sandusky an kalahari helpd huron, but what about the other schools? ie margaretta st marys they are close too an dont have new fields hell st marys dont have a field, i think those schools should be giving something

sash

A nonprofit doesn't mean there isn't a profit. A nonprofit needs to put any profits back into the hospital or into the community rather than the pockets of investors. There's no great conspiracy or wrongdoing, just SOP for nonprofits. With naming rights, they're also able to budget some of the donation as advertising. Again, SOP. Think Cleveland Clinic and everything they help fund, support, or have their name attached to. As to the other schools? Maybe they didn't approach Firelands or they couldn't work out a deal that made everyone happy. Like that would be a surprise! LOL! Chill folks, or the next time a local school or organization looks to Firelands for support, they may decide it's not worth the headaches.

Imataloss

Sash hit the nail on the head.  It's all about the fact that money cannot be distributed to members or investors.  It's that simple - although the IRS has 3 inches of code dedicated to all the scammers out there - people who set up "non-profits" and pay themselves huge salarieds (allowed) but do no "good" with the money donated, other than to pay themselves (not allowed).  The even bigger scam is that many non-profits are not actually 501C3 corps which allow the donator to get a tax dedution (FRMC is).  For goodness sake, google it.

Imataloss

And, by the way, kudos to FRMC - a great gift.

donutshopguy

 Just to clarify, FRMC did not donate $1.7 million dollars to the stadium renovation program as alluded to by an uninformed "letter to the editor" writer. 

Also, do some research on the contributions of FRMC to many civic groups and organizations before you make fools of yourselves.

Darkhorse

The IRS should take another look at non-profit status and maybe adjust what the hospitals can and cannot do.  When I think of shortness of staff at the hospitals and cut backs and the hospital is out throwing money at a school, how sensible is that?  I better not see the hospital crying the blues when they have to tighten their belts, raise room rates, and we have to pay for it as patients.  Some where along the line the paitent will be picking up the tab for the Perkins expenditture.  The hospital should use common sense as to how this kind of PR would look to their consumers and their employees when you can't give out raises.  If the hospital has that much money to throw around, maybe they should reduce prices or put it back into their operations.  

BW1's picture
BW1

There's no reason a non-profit can't donate to other non-profits.  United Way does nothing BUT donate to other non-profits - it's their entire purpose.  St. Mary's Parish donates a tithe of its collections every month to another Christian charity or organization.  

It appears some people have confused taxpayer funded with non-profit.  There's a big difference.  If a non-profit disperses funds to causes or in ways of which its donors don't approve, they are free to cease contributing.  Taxpayers don't have that option.

Healthcare is a competitive industry, and so hospitals engage in promotion and marketing.  Some of the most successful companies in the country, from Progressive Insurance to Kalahari, find naming rights for sports facilities to be effective marketing expenditures, from the Major Leagues down to the high school varsity, so Firelands is in good company in this decision.