IA hospitals see growing numbers of uninsureds

Like hospitals around the country, Iowa facilities have been struggling with growing volumes of uninsured patients in recent years. Now, with the recession reaching new heights, things are getting worse, hospital administrators say.

The Iowa Hospital Association concluded recently that statewide--based on full-charge figures--charity-care services climbed 26 percent in the third quarter of 2008, compared with the same period in 2007.

Iowa has fewer uninsured patients than most states, but the gap has been closing of late, sometimes quickly. For example, Fort Dodge, IA-based Trinity Regional Medical Center saw its charity care burden shoot up from $3.3 million in 2007 to $5.9 million in 2008, partly because it loosened rules as to who qualifies for free care.

Another example of rapid charity care growth comes from Des Moines-based Mercy Medical Center, which saw charity care expenses (based on actual costs) climb from $9.2 million in 2007 to $11.2 million in 2008.

To learn more about Iowa hospitals' financial issues:
- read this Des Moines Register article

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