The Internal Revenue Service yesterday released a proposed rule that provides guidance to charitable hospital organizations on the community health needs assessment requirements, and related excise tax and reporting obligations, enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. These proposed regulations also clarify the consequences for failing to meet these and other requirements for charitable hospital organizations. Hospitals must conduct a community health needs assessment at least once every three years and adopt an implementation strategy to meet the community health needs it identified through the assessment. For more information on specific provisions of the proposed rule, see the Treasury Department fact sheet. The agency noted that it intends to finalize its new proposal in conjunction with finalizing a June 2012 proposed rule relating to financial assistance and emergency care policies, charges for certain care provided to individuals eligible for financial assistance, and billing and collections. Yesterday’s proposed rule will be published in the April 5 Federal Register, and comments will be accepted for 90 days. AHA members will receive a Special Bulletin with further details in the next few days.