As many as 16,000 health care jobs could be lost in the state of Washington by 2012 if Medicare cuts are implemented, according to a new report by the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association.

"Beyond providing health care services, hospitals are often a community's largest employer and are significant contributors to their local economies," says Scott Bond, president of the Washington State Hospital Association. "Cuts to Medicare payments threaten hospitals' ability to provide critical services to their communities and could lead to devastating job losses."

Along with the economic impact, these cuts could negatively affect patient care, the report finds. With these programs, patient health is improved, and it can even reduce overall costs.

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