(Chicago Sun Times) — Across Illinois in 2010, requests for financial assistance at hospitals swelled as jobs and health insurance benefits shriveled, leaving fewer people able to pay their medical bills. “We’re hearing from hospitals that they’re having record numbers of people needing charity and record numbers of people on Medicaid,” said Howard Peters, executive vice president of the Illinois Hospital Association. A report the organization released in mid-December found the 109 Illinois hospitals that filed community benefit reports for their 2008-09 fiscal years (a little more than half its 200 hospital members) together dispensed $492 million in free and discounted care that year — $72 million more than the previous year.
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