A Changing Picture of Uncompensated Care

July/August 1997
Health Affairs , vol.16, no.4 (July/August 1997): 167-175
Peter J. Cunningham, Ha T. Tu

rends in the provision of uncompensated care were measured in three areas: hospitals, physicians and community health centers. There has not been an increase in the relative amount of uncompensated care provided by hospitals, but such care that has been provided is more concentrated among fewer hospitals. Private physicians provide an increasing amount of uncompensated care in terms of both charity care and bad debt, both perhaps related to greater numbers of underinsured patients. Community health centers have seen expanded revenue and have treated an increased number (but still a small percentage of the total) of uninsured patients. While it is difficult to make inferences about these trends, reduction in the provision of uncompensated care could result in decreased access to care for the uninsured.

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