Chicago Hospitals Partner With Community Health Centers; Advocates Defend Mass. Program That Cares For Illegal Aliens

The Chicago Tribune: Some Chicago-area hospitals are trying to address the inaccessibility of health care services for people in low-income areas who often rely on emergency rooms or walk-in clinics for their medical needs. They're "partnering with federally qualified community health centers such as Chicago-based Access," which "provides care at nearly 60 Chicago-area health centers," and "is one of many federally qualified health centers across the country that provide preventive and primary care to communities that have historically been underserved." One hospital official "said residents training in a federally qualified, team-based health care center will make for better private practice doctors" (Marrazzo, 10/25).

The Boston Herald: A leading immigrant advocate criticized opponents of "a $50 million health-care program that provides free emergency treatment." After "more than a month of ducking questions and under an order by the secretary of state, Gov. Deval Patrick's administration released figures showing that more than 52,000 illegal aliens received care through the Medicaid-subsidized MassHealth Limited," costing $35.7 million this year. "The state is projected to pay $13.7 million of the cost of the health-care program this year, while federal Medicaid picks up the other $22 million. The entire program, including subscribers who are documented residents, costs $50 million." Supporters of the program say "the larger problem is providing preventative care for people who lack health insurance." A Medicaid spokeswoman confirmed that MassHealth Limited "will not be abolished under the federal health reform package (Van Sack, 10/28).

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