COLUMBUS—State Representative Ron Young (R-Leroy Township) recently introduced legislation that provides tax incentives for physicians who have served patients at free clinics or medical mission organizations.

The bill authorizes for a six-year period a personal income tax deduction for physicians based on the number of hours they provided uncompensated medical services through a hospital, free clinic or nongovernmental medical organization. This includes non-profit medical organizations that support victims of natural disasters or armed conflict.

Rep. Young championed the effort to highlight the nearly 2,000 physicians in Ohio who provided approximately 35,000 volunteer hours in 2016.

“Ohio’s physicians give whatever is necessary to care for those who do not have the means at hand to care for themselves, and for the most part doctors have been willing to shoulder the load,” Rep. Young said. “This legislation gives them an added incentive to care for the poor and serves as recognition of their efforts from an appreciative society.”

The bill has received strong support from various professionals in the medical field.

"The Ohio Association of Free Clinics would like to thank Representative Young for his vision and willingness to address tough issues facing those in the health care safety-net system today. The Charity Care Tax Exemption Bill will provide incentives for physicians to volunteer in Ohio’s free and charitable clinics to improve access to health care for more than 600,000 under and uninsured Ohioans,” Deborah Miller, with Ohio Free Clinics, said. “We don’t know at this time what changes there will be in the health care industry, but we do know that the number of uninsured and under-insured will not go down.  The timing of this bill is critically important to assist the safety net system in preparing for the changes that Ohio and those providing direct services will be facing.” 

“The Lake County Free Clinic thanks Rep. Young for yet another piece of legislation that will help free clinics serve those who cannot otherwise access the health care they need,” said Johanna Henz, Executive Director at the Lake County Free Clinic. “In Rep. Young’s House District alone there are more than 16,000 left uninsured, even after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  This is a difficult time in health care, particularly for those who are not able to get care – due to lack of insurance, lack of ability to pay co-pays, deductibles for those who do have insurance, and the list goes on.  This bill will help free clinics all across the state augment the number of volunteer physicians available to see patients – and the impact that will have on those who struggle with finding care they can afford will be incredible.  We are indebted to Rep. Young, and applaud his efforts to help us keep our communities healthy.”

“I believe the sponsorship by Representative Ron Young and his leadership in encouraging philanthropic effort on the part of physicians and lawyers is visionary,” said Paul Vanek, MD at Vanek Plastic Surgery. “This bill will encourage physicians to volunteer their services and circumvent possible perverse financial penalties found in Medicare and The Affordable Care Act. I encourage my colleague physicians to volunteer their time, talent, and services.”

Assigned as House Bill 317, the legislation will be referred to a committee for further consideration.

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