New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

NYU Langone calls claims of withholding millions in tax breaks ‘disappointing’

A report released by the Lown Institute claimed that NYU Langone Health retained over $220 million in tax breaks meant to benefit community health.
Kevin Wu
File Photo: NYU Langone’s campus on First Avenue. (Kevin Wu for WSN)

NYU Langone Health dismissed claims that it withheld more than $220 million in tax breaks after a recent press release from the Lown Institute, a health care think tank, ranked the medical center No. 3 in the top 10 U.S. hospitals with “the largest deficit in matching their tax breaks.”

NYU Langone spokesperson Steve Ritea told WSN that the report “does not provide the public with an accurate depiction” of the medical center’s tax breaks. While the March 26 report indicated that NYU Langone only allocates 2.41% of its expenses to providing patients with health-related benefits, Ritea said the medical center spends $1.4 billion in health benefits — 21% of its total expenses.

“It is disappointing that the Lown Institute continues to cherry-pick data,” Ritea wrote in a statement to WSN. “The Lown report also does not take into consideration the consistently exceptional outcomes that NYU Langone offers to communities all across the region — reduced mortality, lower infection rates and minimal lengths of stay, to name a few — which are fundamental to health equity and everything we do.”

Ritea also cited a report by the American Hospital Association — a national health care trade group — that called the Lown Institute’s assessment of NYU Langone’s expenses “flawed.” The report argued that the Lown Institute failed to take into account all categories of community benefits and the impact of local state policies, among other “shortcomings.” When asked for comment, an AHA spokesperson referred WSN to the report.

“It’s well known that nonprofit hospitals take advantage of loose federal tax guidelines to boost their community benefit numbers,” Lown Institute president Vikas Saini wrote to WSN. “That’s why we measure just the spending that has a meaningful impact on the health of people in the hospital’s community, and exclude spending that may be important, but is unrelated to what we are examining. Given what’s at stake for communities, it’s important that hospitals welcome evidence that may help them better serve the public.”

NYU Langone has operated as a nonprofit hospital since 1998. Nonprofit hospitals — which the IRS classifies as charities — are eligible for tax exemption if they can “demonstrate that it provides benefits to a class of persons that is broad enough to benefit the community” and “operate to serve a public rather than a private interest.” 

In December 2023, New York state lawmakers proposed a bill that could lead to NYU losing over $100 million in annual tax cuts. University spokesperson John Beckman wrote in a Dec. 13 statement that these proposed tax cuts could impact NYU’s operations, including NYU Langone’s tax exemptions that are allocated to community health benefits. Beckman also wrote in the statement that NYU Langone provided more than $70 million in charity care and operated at around 75 family health centers that provide medical assistance to people regardless of their financial status. 

“We welcome a good-faith discussion about the many benefits hospitals provide to their communities, but this flawed report does not merit inclusion in that discussion,” AHA president and CEO Rick Pollack wrote in the report. “Contrary to their purported intent, misleading reports like this one do more to undermine rather than improve access to high-quality care for all Americans.”

Contact Bruna Horvath at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Bruna Horvath
Bruna Horvath, News Editor
Bruna Horvath is a sophomore studying journalism and English at CAS. When she’s not a News Editor, she’s a "Gone Girl" enthusiast, a Goodreads lover, and a Barnes & Noble frequenter. You can usually find her ordering an iced mocha, telling people her name is “Bruna” not “Bruno,” or on Instagram @brunaahorvath.
Kevin Wu
Kevin Wu, Digital Director
Kaiyu (Kevin) Wu is a senior double-majoring in Media, Culture, and Communication and Journalism. He directs everything digital at WSN. You can directly reach him digitally at [email protected].

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