Source: Philanthropy Today 

Nonprofit California medical centers could face stricter oversight on charity care following an audit in which it was found that facilities offer widely varying levels of free or reduced treatment for the poor and sometimes fail to submit legally required community-benefit plans, reports The Bay Citizen.

A newly formed state Senate select committee on charity care is to hold its first hearing Wednesday, and the California Nurses Association is planning a rally at the Capitol afterward calling for hospitals to improve their provision of public services.

The review by the California State auditor notes that nonprofit hospitals are not required to deliver a specific level of charity care and that state health officials have no authority to penalize institutions that do not submit benefit plans, as 15 failed to do in 2010.

State Senator Ellen Corbett, who requested the audit and leads the new committee, said the state must make sure that hospitals “are are honoring their commitment to serve the public that comes with their special tax-exempt status.”