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Tennessee hospitals feeling economic pinch, cut staff

The Tennessean, December 31, 2008
Tennessee hospitals are feeling the effects of a slumping economy, forced into cutting staff, increasing charity care and dipping into hospital reserves to pay bad debt. In a membership survey completed this month, the Tennessee Hospital Association found that a majority of the state's hospitals that responded have reduced staff or are considering cuts. Nearly as many have also cut services or are thinking about reducing them. Craig Becker, president of the THA, said the survey revealed dramatic changes in three categories: a spike in charity care, namely because of an increase in uninsured patient visits to emergency rooms; at least a 20% to 25% decrease in hospital reserves because of losses in the stock market.