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June 30, 2008

The High Cost Of Illegal Immigrant Healthcare (It Affects All Of Us)

Topics: Immigration and Border Issues

Via ABC News, this Project Immigration report takes a look at the high cost of illegal immigrant health care in the Washington area and nationwide (Hat tip - "hamden183").

"As of today, I have a patient from Mexico who's been in my hospital for 760 days," said an administrator at Martin Memorial Medical Center.

Her testimony has become an unexpected online sensation. It's already racked up nearly 700,000 views in just three weeks.

"We had an illegal immigrant patient from Guatemala. He had more than $1.5 million in healthcare services," she said.

The Florida hospital spent $30,000 to send the Guatemalan home after two years, there was hardly a thank you from his relatives.

'His family in the United States is now suing us," she said. We've spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars in legal fees since the family thought it was inappropriate of us to return him to his home country."

Washington area hospitals are facing the same dilemma.

"If you come to my hospital, I'm going to take care of you. I'm not going to check to make sure you have a green card," said Dr. Janis Orlowski, chief medical director at Washington Hospital Center.

Hospitals are legally and some say -morally- obligated to treat patients regardless of their ability to pay.

"We just had a gentleman here for 275 days. He was from El Salvador," said Orlowski.

The problem is once illegal immigrants land in an acute care facility like Washington Hospital Center, the hospital is stuck caring for them and can't legally transfer the patients to a more appropriate, less costly long-term care facility.

"There's no help from the embassies. Family members are not answering any calls or letters," said Orlowski

The Washington Hospital Center treats illegal immigrants on a weekly basis, at the cost of millions of dollars of unreimbursed care. hospital beds are often full.

"This harms the community," said Orlowski. "The community loses because these are resources that should be devoted for acute care."

And American taxpayers pick up the tab.

Just this week Washington Hospital Center spent $80,000 to send two illegal immigrants back to their home countries.

And the Feds refuse to do anything about it!

Posted by Abdul at June 30, 2008 11:45 AM

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