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The interesting thing about what we call nonprofits is that they may very well make a profit. The trick is that there are no stockholders, so they do not have to share the profit. Instead, the loot generally goes to the folks in charge.

As an interesting example, I pulled down the most recently available Form 990s from the DeLand hospital. Yes, I know, 2018 sounds so “three years ago,” but that seems to be the most recent actually available. It is certainly enlightening.

Like I said, being a not-for-profit means that you do not share the loot with pesky stockholders. It does not mean that management folks could not cost $1,113,535 or $1,936,361 or $3,404,902, or perhaps $2,093,454. In fact, it does not even mean that someone who works a half-hour per week cannot receive $257,979.

Obviously, if they had to share the money with stockholders, management might take home a bit less. But the numbers show that, when operating a not-for-profit conducting charity work, management does strangely well.

And such a charity it is. If one is below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, one should qualify for charity care at the hospital. Sure, there is a lot of paperwork. Still, in theory, poor folks who are good at paperwork can have their hospital bills written off.

We presume that the target audience is also adept at finding relief applications on the web. The hospital bills make no mention of such. 

I mention it because the West Volusia Hospital Authority actually pays for inpatient care when a patient is at or below 150 percent of poverty. Instead of providing charity, the hospitals receive tax money, extracted from you and me. Sometimes with kicking and screaming on my part, but eventually I give up on food so I can support all the local governments.

However, taxpayers no longer pay for the emergency room: The federal government says the hospitals are obligated to provide that. It would be patently unreasonable to soak the West Volusia taxpayers when the hospitals need to fulfill their federal obligations.

But, the hospitals say, if the taxpayers do not cough up some extra dough, things could get ugly. 

And from reviewing the higher-up salaries reported on their 990s, I know what they are thinking — it would sure be ugly if they had to direct-bill the indigent to help with the yacht payments!

— Andrews is a DeLand-area attorney and a longtime government critic. For purposes of the column, he finds it convenient that there is so much government to criticize.

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