Erlanger may take blow with loss of sales tax deal

Erlanger Health System awarded $1.7 million in executive bonuses but had to absorb $82 million in uncompensated care costs in fiscal 2010.

Now the hospital is making a last push to get its usual slice of public funding.

Since 1976, Erlanger has received money from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County sales tax agreement to treat indigent county residents. For years, the annual allotment has been $3 million.

That changed when the agreement expired in May. County Mayor Jim Coppinger's proposed 2012 budget has only $1.5 million for Erlanger.

Now the public hospital, which turned a profit the last two years, potentially faces a $1.5 million budget hole if the city won't make up the difference.

But Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield and the City Council have expressed reluctance to include Erlanger in the list of quasi-governmental agencies it will support now.