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Emory Health Sciences and the Gold Dome

During its 2012 session, which ended in March, the Georgia General Assembly passed tax reform legislation that represents two years of discussion of Georgia's revenue structure. A priority issue for the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, the legislation did not include recommendations made by a Special Tax Council to repeal the sales tax exemption for nonprofit hospitals. Loss of the sales tax exemption would have a huge negative impact on Emory's hospitals, and maintaining this exemption will remain a priority issue on the state government affairs agenda.  

Georgia's revenues have been slowly but steadily increasing for the past 18 months, and the House and Senate added $100,000 in the FY 2013 budget for the Emory Autism Center, a measure agreed to by Governor Deal. These funds will allow the center to continue to provide treatment and services for adults with autism. When a young adult reaches the age of 22, he or she loses the ability to access services designated for children that are available through the public schools and through pediatric health care organizations.

Joseph Cubells, director of medical and adult services at the Emory Autism Center, says that this support from the state will allow the Emory Autism Center to continue vital services to the community of adults with autism, including specialized medication evaluation and follow-up, social skills training, behavioral interventions, job-related support, psychotherapy, and family therapy services: "Patients from more than 50 counties in Georgia receive adult medical services from the Emory Autism Center, and we are pleased and grateful for the support that allows us to continue serving these members of our community."

The Legislature also agreed with the Governor's budget proposal of $1.5 million in the FY 2013 state budget for the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) to fund two Eminent Scholars as well as $8 million in bonds for GRA to purchase equipment and fund research and development infrastructure. Legislation also passed and has been signed by Governor Deal that allows for the investment of state employee retirement funds in various accounts including private investment funds, venture capital funds, leveraged buyouts, and mezzanine funds. The intent is to attract new investments in research start-up companies and keep these companies in Georgia.

Also important to Emory's hospitals in the FY 2012 amended budget is $21 million that will be used to draw down federal matching dollars for the Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program. This is a federal program that is intended to increase health care access for low-income individuals. Hospitals that treat a disproportionate share of Medicaid and other indigent patients qualify for DSH payments, based on the hospital's estimated uncompensated cost of services to the uninsured. Both Emory University Hospital and Emory University Hospital Midtown are eligible for DSH payments that are expected to be made on or before June 30th.

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