Uncompensated care represented 5.6% of total expenses at community hospitals in 2005, the same percentage as in 2004, the American Hospital Association said. Overall estimated costs for uncompensated care -- defined as free or discounted care and bad debt -- rose 7.1% to $28.8 billion in 2005 from $26.9 billion in 2004, the AHA said. The figures are estimates based on revenue, expenses and uncompensated-care charges from an AHA survey of 4,936 community hospitals. As previously reported, the hospitals posted record total revenue of $28.9 billion in 2005, and their aggregate profit margin hit a seven-year high of 5.3%. The AHA said community hospitals Medicare and Medicaid shortfalls, which are tracked separately from uncompensated care, increased 14.5% to $25.3 billion last year from $22.1 billion in 2004. The Medicaid shortfall grew much more rapidly than the Medicare shortfall, the AHA said. -- by Melanie Evans
Uncompensated care stable as a percentage of costs in 05
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