Healthcare providers, attorneys and opinion leaders identified increasing pressures on hospitals from uncompensated care and high costs as the leading issue of concern within the healthcare sector, according to a survey conducted at the 12th annual Health Law and Policy Forum sponsored by King & Spalding (Atlanta).

Nearly 60% of survey respondents cited the burden of increased hospital costs as the No. 1 healthcare issue in 2005. Rising Medicare/Medicaid costs ranked a close second, with 57% of respondents identifying those programs as a leading issue.

More than 100 attendees at the King & Spalding forum, held in Atlanta, heard the latest updates on a range of healthcare topics, including the issue of increasing class-action litigation against non-profit hospitals.