A tight economy means some Utahns are cutting back on preventive medical care.
Whether it be not going to the dentist or putting off a needed surgery, local medical centers are seeing the economic impact as people, especially those without insurance, avoid treatments.
Janet Frank, with Intermountain Healthcare in Utah County, says, "As people's income is affected, they tend to look at health care as more of a benefit or something they don't need rather than a necessity."
Frank says from 2006 to 2007 their charity care assistance went up $1.8 million. "And we expect to see that kind of increase, or an even greater increase, for 2008," Frank says.
She says the Volunteer Care Clinic in Utah County, which sees people who don't have insurance, has seen an increase in patients. Mountainlands Community Health Center has seen an increase as well.
Frank says when people put off preventive care, it can lead to serious and very costly problems down the road.