Almost half of the care provided by doctors in Florida emergency rooms was uncompensated in 1998, according to a survey this year by University of South Florida researchers and the Florida College of Emergency Physicians. The percentage of uncompensated care provided by the 83 hospital emergency physician groups that responded to the survey ranged from 26% to 79%, for an average of about 47%. Some 188 ER groups were asked to participate. "We did not expect such a high percentage of free care," said lead study author Barbara Langland Orban, an associate professor and chair of health policy and management at the USF College of Public Health. The study raises concerns that emergency care could deteriorate "from lack of adequate funding and resources," FCEP President Jorge Lopez said. -- by Michael Romano
Fla. ER doctors say half of care is uncompensated
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