MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin hospitals say they need federal help as their income drops and requests for charity care soar.
A Wisconsin Hospitals Association report released Thursday says charity care costs will jump nearly 20 percent this year compared to last.
In 2007, hospitals provided free care to nearly 700 patients per day.
The report says hospitals also saw about a 20 percent jump in bad debt, or unpaid bills, this year.
At the same time, they've lost money in investments and income from elective surgeries.
WHA president Steve Brenton says it's the biggest downtown for health care services he's seen in 20 years.
Without federal relief, hospitals say they could have to lay off staff, reduce services and put off buying new equipment.
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