U.S. hospitals provided $45.9 billion in uncompensated care in 2012, totaling 6.1% of expenses for nearly 5,000 hospitals included in a recent American Hospital Association survey. The losses include unpaid bills and charity care.

To ease those losses, hospitals increasingly are reviewing patients' credit scores to help determine how likely they are to pay their medical bills. The idea, according to many hospital executives, is to identify the patients who need help paying their bills so that counseling options about payment plans or charity care can be offered.

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