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Hospitals Feel the Pain



The recession is hitting California hospitals where it hurts. A new report reveals an increasing number of hospital patients are unable to pay their bills. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.


The report is based on a statewide survey of hospital executives.


It shows there's been a 73 percent increase in patients who can't cover their out-of-pocket costs. Hospital officials cite a 33 percent rise in uninsured people in emergency rooms.


Chris Van Gorder heads up San Diego's Scripps Health.


Chris Van Gorder : Even though the economy may be down, people still get sick, they still get injured, they still need healthcare, so they still come to hospitals. The challenge for us, of course, is that our bad debt's growing and our charity care is growing fairly dramatically.


The report says the floundering stock market is hurting hospitals, too. And the tight credit market is hindering new hospital construction.


Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.



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