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WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 19, 2013, 10:36 AM

North Dakota hospitals need help in screening for bad debt

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Medical centers in western North Dakota's booming oil patch need help in diagnosing which patients seeking nonemergency services are bad debt risks.

By: Associated Press, Associated Press

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Medical centers in western North Dakota's booming oil patch need help in diagnosing which patients seeking nonemergency services are bad debt risks.

As part of a fund of nearly $10 million to help defray hospitals' bad debt in 2013-2015, the Legislature appropriated $700,000 for new information technology aimed at reducing bad debts by evaluating patients' creditworthiness.

The Forum newspaper reports (http://bit.ly/10GkJFO ) that hospitals and clinics in the 17 oil- and gas-producing counties, and nearby health care facilities, have been straining under bad debt loads.

The newspaper reports that many in the growing itinerant work force are uninsured.

Matt Grimshaw, CEO of Mercy Medical Center in Williston, says bad debts at his facility have doubled as a percentage of revenue.

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Information from: The Forum, http://www.in-forum.com

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