Illegal Immigrant Dialysis Proves Costly To Hospitals, System

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that dialysis care for illegal immigrants at a taxpayer-supported medical center costs $20 million a year and that the immigrants are being referred there from for-profit hospitals.

"Under federal law, anyone who shows up at an emergency room requesting an examination or treatment for a medical condition must be given an appropriate medical screening to determine whether there is an emergency. If there is, treatment must be provided regardless of a patient's ability to pay or their citizenship. … U.S. citizens with end stage renal disease automatically qualify for Medicare to cover dialysis costs. Illegal immigrants are not eligible for Medicare. As a result, patients who have neither insurance nor Medicare to pay for dialysis are almost exclusively illegal immigrants, a distinction that allows hospital officials to estimate costs for their care."

Each emergency dialysis visit is estimated to cost the University Medical Center — where the immigrants are getting care — $15,000, and officials say it is forcing them to lay workers off since they cannot recoup much of the expense (Harasim, 8/20).

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