- Associated Press - Saturday, November 1, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A survey of Arkansas hospitals found the number of patients without insurance was down during the first half of 2014 and the state’s expansion of the Medicaid program under the “private option” is said to be the reason.

The Arkansas Hospital Association and Arkansas chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association survey was answered by 46 hospitals - 71 percent of the general, acute care hospitals in the state.

They reported a 1.8 increase in emergency room visits compared with the first half of 2013 - but a decrease of 35.5 percent of patients without insurance. They also reported 46.5 percent decrease in the number of hospitalized patients without insurance.

Hospital association executive vice president Paul Cunningham told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1u7DgiH) that expanding Medicaid under the private option reduced the cost of caring for to the uninsured.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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