Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The New York Times > U.S. Is Linking Immigrant Patients' Status to Hospital Aid

The New York Times > Washington > U.S. Is Linking Immigrant Patients' Status to Hospital Aid:
"The federal government is offering $1 billion to hospitals that provide emergency care to undocumented immigrants. But to get the money, hospitals would have to ask patients about their immigration status, a prospect that alarms hospitals and advocates for immigrants. "

When Congress decided to provide the money last year, state officials and hospital executives saw it as a breakthrough. For years, they had argued that the federal government was responsible for immigration policy and should cover the costs of medical care for illegal immigrants because it had created the problem. These costs weigh heavily on border states like Texas, Arizona and California and on states like New York and Illinois, with large numbers of such immigrants.

The largest allocations are going to California, $72 million a year; Texas, $48 million; Arizona, $42 million; New York, $12 million; Illinois, $10 million; and Florida, $9 million.

But federal health officials, under guidelines developed in the last couple of weeks, said hospitals had to ask questions about immigration status to make sure the money would be used as Congress intended, for "emergency health services furnished to undocumented aliens."

Hospital executives and immigrant rights groups said the questioning would deter undocumented immigrants from seeking hospital care when they need it, and some hospitals said compliance might cost them more than they would receive in federal aid.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/10/politics/10health.html?pagewanted=all&position=
con·cept: The New York Times > U.S. Is Linking Immigrant Patients' Status to Hospital Aid