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Ohio Utica Shale

Hospital hurt by treating injured drillers with no health insurance

By Bob Downing Published: December 28, 2012

From the Associated Press:

The first operating loss in about five years at a north-central Pennsylvania hospital is a sign of the influx of natural gas field workers without health insurance, the facility's CEO said.

Jersey Shore Hospital president and CEO Carey Plummer told the Sun-Gazette of Williamsport (http://bit.ly/12KG3O3) that many subcontractors attracted to the area's Marcellus Shale drilling boom do not cover employees.

That has brought a growing number of uninsured people to the community-owned, nonprofit hospital, Plummer said.

"We had a loss," Plummer said. "I don't think it's a sign of the economy. I think it's the influx of the gas, industry and those who lack insurance."

The hospital reported an operating loss of $770,000 while providing more than $3 million in care to people unable to pay in its most recent fiscal year. The uncompensated care figure is the highest it has ever seen.

Other significant factors contributing to the hospital's losses include cuts in Medicaid reimbursements, employee salary increases and higher pension costs, Plummer said.

Jersey Shore is about 65 miles north of Pennsylvania's capital of Harrisburg. The hospital says its service area covers about 45,000 people in Clinton and Lycoming counties. It reported 3,260 acute care days, 67,691 outpatient visits and 14, 835 emergency room visits in the most recent fiscal year.

With about 660 wells, Lycoming County is the fourth most heavily drilled county in the Marcellus Shale rush that began in earnest in 2008, according to state records. The footprint in Clinton County is smaller, with just under 100 since then. The state's two most heavily drilled counties, Tioga and Bradford, are neighbors of Lycoming County.

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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.