A new report suggests economic troubles are also causing problems for many Wisconsin hospitals.
A survey conducted by the Wisconsin Hospital Association shows revenue declined for members during the first nine months of 2008. At the same time, the number of people who can't afford medical care jumped nearly 20-percent, resulting in an increase in "charity" care provided by hospitals and debt patients are unable to repay.
WHA Executive Vice President Eric Borgerding says the downturn has many hospitals looking for ways to cut costs. Already, they're looking to scale back or delay capital expenses and equipment purchases. He says many are also considering stuff cuts or staffing freezes.
Borgerding says the situation could improve quickly when the economy recovers. However, he says the state can help now by fighting for better federal reimbursement rates for Medicaid. He says Wisconsin has done a terrible job at trying to get tax money back that's sent to the federal government.
Borgerding also warns that the situation could worsen for many hospitals if more people lose their jobs and health insurance.