US hospitals send hundreds of immigrant patients back to home countries to curb cost

  1. My thoughts are conflicted on this issue. On one hand, undocumented immigrants cost the hospital millions of dollars in unreimbursed care. In this case, the subjects of this article actually had insurance even though they were undocumented. On the other hand, sending patients out of the hospital to no proper follow up care is wrong, and is detrimental to the patient.
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    About whichone'spink

    Joined: Sep '09; Posts: 1,557; Likes: 2,537
    RN; from US
    Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience


  3. by   Mulan
    I'm not a bit conflicted.
  4. by   Novo
    I'm not surprised, in the U.S it's all about the Benjamins
  5. by   AccelCNL
    The is a touchy subject. My only statement is there are plenty of citizens in this country who cannot get any services and who are in dire straits. I am not saying to not help others but what is the point of being a citizen if you cannot get certain basic needs such as food, shelter, healthcare? Hospitals need income to survive.

    The system needs to be desperately revamped ( and I say this without any reservations since I am coming from a family of immigrants and a first generation citizen).
  6. by   mikeshoestring
    well they should go back they dont have insurance then they need to go back. if we allow this to happen. not only it is unfair for those who pay insurance already we will have more numbers coming in to take advantage of the system
  7. by   MatrixRn
    Quote from Mulan
    I'm not a bit conflicted.
    Me neither.
  8. by   serenidad2004
    So many people forget that the majority of unpaid medical bills are from citizens that do not pay their bills. I did medical collections for about 5years prior to starting my nursing career... and saw it first hand.
    It is NOT our healthcare systems job to police peoples immigration status in this country.
    Immigration is a hot button issue for me as my husband was naturalized as a US citizen in 2009. After 14 years of jumping through hoops and spending almost $25,000.
    I'm conflicted... I admit it. I feel bad for the immigrants-I really do. But, Hospitals do need income to survive. What happens when the hospitals finances get so bad that it has to close down? Then the community suffers as a whole.
  10. by   nursej22
    Several things doesn't seem right about this article: the men were sent back to Veracruz for rehab and yet they were unconscious?; there are lot of vague terms and numbers like many, often, possibly, etc; a lawyer is able to predict his client's recovery had he remained in Iowa; is the former employer in any hot water for hiring undocumented workers?
    I work close to the Canadian border and see a similar situation with US citizens being transferred from Canadian hospitals. They have been in Canada illegally, often for years and no insurance. So our facility accepts these folks, tries to return them to some level of health and eat the costs. Placement is a nightmare and these folks are often noncompliant and estranged from family. They have been out of the USA for years and have not been paying any taxes.
  11. by   dirtyhippiegirl
    I work in burn and, yes, we do this if the patient is an illegal immigrant and a big enough burn to further need months of ltach and/or rehab past the initial stabilization and surgeries.

    However, like serenidad mentioned, our biggest "offenders" are the homeless and uninsured US citizens. (Which make up about 75% of our patient population.)

    Our last big-big burn (90%er) was a guy who blew himself up making meth. He stretched his stay with us out to over a year because of almost total non-compliance with care. Our unit ate 2.5 million on that. And we still see him every few months because he continues to use meth, which causes his skin to break down, so we have to do more skin grafts...

    And he was legal.
  12. by   That Guy
    I think the bigger problem is how the holy hell do you get a job as an illegal that provides insurance when many LEGAL residents cant get it.
  13. by   RNdynamic
    Not conflicted at all. See ya's.
  14. by   KelRN215
    I think there's probably a LOT more to this story than meets the eye. These patients were supposedly transferred home for rehab. Rehab is not emergency medical care and rehab hospitals are not required to accept patients regardless of their ability to pay. I have seen many patients (from the US) who could not be transferred to the rehab we preferred to send patients to because of their insurance. The hospital, because of its size, accepted out of state Medicaid from neighboring states but the rehab hospitals did not. It was either send them home or no rehab.

    This last line on the first page "That’s why hospitals often try to send those patients to rehabilitation centers and nursing homes back in their home countries." does make me think that, quite possibly, it is the only way to get these patients the level of care they need. Rehabs and nursing homes aren't going to accept patients who don't have the ability to pay and/or don't have insurance that will cover that level of care.

    I dunno, I don't read this article and think "the big bad hospitals are trying to deport patients".