WPR News
8:58 am
Mon April 6, 2009

Wyoming doctors worry about uncompensated care

Cheyenne, WY – As Wyoming's economy continues to worsen, some doctors in the state worry the recession will reduce their ability to see patients who can't afford to pay them.

Health officials say doctors already spend more than 20 percent of their time on uncompensated care. This includes treating patients who don't have insurance or can't afford to pay in full.

As people lose jobs and insurance, some doctors expect they will be asked to provide even more uncompensated care.

State health officials say they have not seen an increase in the number of Wyoming residents signing up for programs that provide health care assistance for the poor, such as Medicaid.

But they say that could change as the state feels the effects of the recession. Wyoming's unemployment increased 1 percentage point in the last year to 3.9 percent.