BOISE -- Idaho public health officials are reporting a significant jump in 2012 in the number of indigent patients seeking medical care through the state's catastrophic fund.
The Idaho CAT Fund Director Roger Christensen told budget writers Tuesday the fund handled more than 6,400 cases last year. The Spokesman-Review reports the 2012 tally is up from more than 4,500 in 2011 and 4,300 in 2010.
Christensen attributed the spike to economic conditions.
Ada County had the most cases of any of Idaho's 44 counties with more than 1,610 -- followed by Twin Falls, Canyon and Kootenai counties.
The CAT program is funded entirely by general fund revenue and county property taxes. The budget request for 2014 is $38.2 million, about $2 million more than a year ago.