CO hospitals cite $800M in uncompensated care

In what is becoming an annual ritual for many hospitals around the country, the Colorado Hospital Association has announced what it spent on uncompensated care for for the first six months of this year. CHA reported that uncompensated care climbed to $796 million in the first six months of 2008, compared with $671 million in the first half of last year.

According to the association, its hospital members provided 29.2 percent more charity care during the first half of 2008, while bad debt grew by 6 percent. And all told, uncompensated care grew by 18.7 percent, the trade group said. The growth in uncompensated care and bad debt is particularly striking when you consider that the number of patients entering Colorado hospitals during this period climbed by less than 1 percent, from 160,000 to about 161,000.

How are the state's hospitals coping? For one thing, they may be cutting back on new equipment, one vendor suggests. Christopher Cone, CEO of medical equipment maintenance and repair company Echoserve, says his business has climbed 70 percent from the previous year.

To learn more about this report:
- read this Denver Business Journal piece

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