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May 31, 2022 – ST. MARYS, Georgia: You have to pay state taxes, but do you know what your tax dollars are used for? It’s your money, and whether you’re taxed $50 or $50,000, you should have a choice on how it’s used or who it benefits. You do–when you participate in the Georgia HEART (Helping Enhance Access to Rural Treatment) Hospital Tax Program.

Turner & Associates Insurance, along with Ameris Bank, Southeastern Bank and more than 30 individuals and couples have already chosen to redirect a portion of their 2022 tax dollars to the Southeast Georgia Health System Camden Campus.

 

“Georgia is the only state in the nation which is afforded the opportunity to financially support its rural hospitals–at no cost to the taxpayers,” said Glenn Gann, R.N., MSN, vice president and administrator, Southeast Georgia Health System Camden Campus. “Georgia taxpayers, both individuals and businesses, can receive approval from the Department of Revenue to redirect their 2022 state taxes to a hospital enrolled in the Georgia HEART program. The most important thing? Time is of the essence. An application for approval is necessary now, when the credits are available. It’s possible that the 2022 credits will run out by July 1 this year.”

 

Georgia’s rural hospitals have been facing a financial crisis for years due to demographic, economic and industry challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed a whole new set of unique challenges on the state’s rural hospitals. The Georgia HEART Hospital Program administers the Rural Hospital Tax Credit, which was enacted by the Georgia General Assembly in 2016 to increase rural hospital funding and to further the hospitals’ ability to care for the thousands of Georgians who live in the communities they serve.

 

Through HEART, Georgia taxpayers can make contributions in exchange for a 100% state income tax credit, up to specified limits, to qualified rural hospitals of their choice. “C” Corporations and Pass-Through Entity business owners who participate may also qualify for an additional federal business expense deduction. Essentially, individuals and business have the unique

opportunity to pay their state income taxes–an expenditure they are required to make any way–through contributing to rural hospitals.

 

Turner & Associates Insurance, a local insurance agency that has been serving the southeast Georgia region since 1950, recently took advantage of the HEART program and graciously contributed $60,000 to the Southeast Georgia Health System Camden Campus.

 

“We are pleased to support the Southeast Georgia Health System Camden Campus and hope that other companies will join us,” said Robert C. Turner, CPCU, president, Turner & Associates Insurance. “This Georgia HEART program is a win-win for local businesses and is one of the easiest, but potentially the most impactful, decisions one can make as we work together to help our communities thrive in these challenging times.”

 

In addition, Ameris Bank and Southeastern Bank have redirected $350,000 and $100,000, respectively, to the Health System’s Camden Campus.

 

“Having quality, local healthcare is a vital asset to our community. Through our participation in the Georgia HEART program, we are essentially redirecting tax dollars to remain in our community to support those healthcare needs,” stated Southeastern Bank President Jay Torbert.

 

“We are very grateful for our community’s participation in Georgia HEART. The support has been crucial in helping our hospital make important and necessary improvements so that we can offer the best care for our patients,” stated Scott Raynes, MBA, M.A., president and CEO, Southeast Georgia Health System. “Contributions received during the past three years have allowed us to add a new Wound Care Center, the ROSA robotic knee replacement system and 3D mammography technology to our Camden Campus.”

 

Currently, 55 rural hospitals are eligible to receive HEART contributions from individuals and businesses across the state. As Gann noted, the decision to participate in the program should be made early in 2022 while tax credits are still available. Applications are submitted and approved by the Georgia Department of Revenue on a first come, first serve basis. Tax credits are limited to $60 million for 2022. The cap was reached in September of 2021, and is anticipated to be gone even faster this year due to the federal business expense deduction opportunity.

 

Follow these easy steps to sign up for the 100% tax credit:

 

· Complete and submit your 2022 HEART Tax Credit Form at GeorgiaHeart.org (takes 2 minutes).

· Georgia HEART will submit your tax credit pre-approval form on your behalf to the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) in the order in which it is received.

· After you receive DOR approval, submit your contribution via check made payable to Southeast Georgia Health System to Georgia HEART for deposit to the hospital’s account by the deadline (six months following DOR approval or December 31, 2022, whichever is soonest).

· Georgia HEART will report your contribution to the DOR on your behalf and will send you a tax receipt.

· You may reduce your tax withholdings or estimated tax payments to reflect the approved contribution.

· Claim the credit when you file your 2022 tax return.

 

Georgia taxpayers who are interested in participating in the HEART program are encouraged to visit georgiaheart.org to learn more and to submit an online 2022 HEART tax credit application.

About Southeast Georgia Health System

Southeast Georgia Health System is a not-for-profit health system comprised of two acute care hospitals, two long term care facilities, two comprehensive Cancer Care Centers and multiple specialty care centers, including orthopedic and spine care, joint replacement, breast care, maternity, outpatient rehabilitation, sleep management and wound care. The Brunswick Campus Cancer Care Center is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and offers the only CyberKnife® M6 with MLC technology in Georgia. Additionally, the Southeast Georgia Physician Associates medical group includes more than 140 providers working in 20 different medical specialties at more than 50 locations. The Health System is part of Coastal Community Health, a regional affiliation between Baptist Health and Southeast Georgia Health System forming a highly integrated hospital network focused on significant initiatives designed to enhance the quality and value of care provided to our contiguous communities. For more information, visit sghs.org.

Robert C. Turner, CPCU, president, Turner & Associates Insurance and Glenn Gann, R.N., MSN, vice president and administrator, Southeast Georgia Health System Camden Campus.

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