The Recession's Impact: Closing The Clinic
60 Minutes: Bad Economy Leaves Cancer Patients Without Health Insurance In Dire Straits
Source: CBS news
In the economic crisis, public hospitals are needed now more than ever. If you're down on your luck without insurance, the county hospital can be your last resort.
Recently thousands of letters went out across Las Vegas telling cancer patients that the only public hospital in the state was closing its outpatient clinic for chemotherapy.
It's the next thing in the recession - communities cutting back on services like schools or cops or public hospitals because tax revenues have fallen with the economy.....
Patients who got the letter, like Helen Sharp, were sent a list of private chemotherapy centers, which leaves them in essence begging for care.
"One drug is almost $50,000. Who can afford that? There's nobody that can afford that unless you're a billionaire," she told Pelley.
Some of the patients 60 Minutes met are gravely ill. But all future patients are affected, including those with early, highly treatable cancers who would benefit the most.
"Well, I'm sad. Because I know that there is room to serve patients and yet, financially, we can't afford to," UMC's CEO Kathy Silver told Pelley, as she showed him her closed chemotherapy unit, which had treated 40 patients a day for 20 years.
"You have the facility...to save lives. You have people outside the hospital who need to have their lives saved. And you just can't put two and two together?" Pelley asked.
"The financial situation that we find ourselves in caused us to make some decisions that I think all of us, to a person would rather not have made," Silver said.