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Monday, July 17th 2006

Immigrant Health

The New York Times profiles hospitals in North Texas and how they deal with illegal immigrants. Parkland Hospital (one of UTSW‘s primary teaching hospitals) has chosen the kind’ve military with homosexuality deal.

What the hospital staff did not know, because they did not ask, was whether Ms. Domi­nguez was an illegal immigrant.

“I don’’t want my doctors and nurses to be immigration agents,”” said Dr. Ron J. Anderson, the president of Parkland.

Patients like Ms. Domi­nguez,— uninsured Hispanic immigrants with uncertain immigration status, have flocked in recent years to public hospital emergency rooms and maternity wards in Texas, California and other border states. Their care has swelled costs for struggling hospitals and increased the health care bills that fall to states and counties, giving ammunition to opponents of illegal immigration who complain of undue burdens on local taxpayers.

It is a major problem, as Parkland’s website itself says it cannot only be a hospital for the poor. Read it below,

Parkland’s greatest challenge is a constant – bearing the brunt of responsibility to care for the rising number of uninsured in Dallas County.

While our obligation to serve those who cannot otherwise afford medical care remains, if we are a system of care only for the poor we could become a poor system of care.

That is the ordeal. No one cares of the illegal immigrant who comes in and pays his hospital bill. He is far from a burden on the healthcare system. But the question becomes, in these times of rising healthcare costs and limited budgets, if we must ratio healthcare is it proper to do it by favoring residents over people in this country illegally?