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June 12, 1991

Uncompensated and Discounted Medicaid Care Provided by Physician Group Practices in Wisconsin

JAMA. 1991;265(22):2982-2986. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460220070034

A survey of a sample of physician group practices in Wisconsin was undertaken to determine the amounts of charity care, bad debt, and discounted Medicaid care that were provided in 1988. Overall, the physician group practices in the sample reported dollar amounts of uncompensated care and discounted Medicaid care that averaged approximately 7.6% of their total billings for the year (1.6% of charity care, 3.0% of bad debt, and 3.0% of discounted Medicaid care). From the dollar totals reported, it was calculated that the individual physicians represented by this sample of group practices were responsible for, on average, $4300 of charity care, $9100 of bad debt, and $7500 of Medicaid discounted services, for a yearly per-physician total of $20 900 of uncompensated care and discounted care provided to uninsured and indigent patients. The results indicate that a majority of the group practices provided more charity care in 1988 than they had 5 years earlier and suggest that the burden of providing uncompensated care tends to fall disproportionately on those group practices that are also providing relatively high levels of service to Medicaid recipients.

(JAMA. 1991;265:2982-2986)