Uninsured patients at Iowa hospitals on the rise - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Uninsured patients at Iowa hospitals on the rise

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DES MOINES (AP)--The number of uninsured patients seeking free care at Iowa hospitals is rising and hospital officials say they are preparing for even more as the economy continues to worsen.

The Iowa Hospital Association says in a copyright story in The Des Moines Register that charity-care costs statewide jumped 26 percent in the third quarter of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007.

Costs of treating the uninsured at Trinity Regional Medical Center rose from $3.3 million in 2007 to $5.9 million last year.

Tom Tibbitts, the hospital's CEO, says the main reason for the jump is that fewer people are working.

Officials at University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City and Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines say they also have seen steady increases in charity care.

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