Sunday, August 3, 2008

International Health Train Express

Quote of the day:

There will always be a part, and always a very large part of every community, that have no care but for themselves, and whose care for themselves reaches little further than impatience of immediate pain, and eagerness for the nearest good. - Samuel Johnson

Who needs ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement? According to today's New York Timeshospitals do not.

Many hospitals resort to this "cost-effective' means to hold expenses in check in regard to the care of undocumented immigrants.

" JOLOMCÚ, Guatemala — High in the hills of Guatemala, shut inside the one-room house where he spends day and night on a twin bed beneath a seriously outdated calendar, Luis Alberto Jiménez has no idea of the legal battle that swirls around him in the lowlands of Florida. "

Mr. Jiménez was deported — not by the federal government but by the hospital, Martin Memorial. After winning a state court order that would later be declared invalid, Martin Memorial leased an air ambulance for $30,000 and “forcibly returned him to his home country,” as one hospital administrator described it.

Unable to find a chronic care facility to care for him, the hospital solved it's "problem" by leasing an air ambulance to ship Mr Jiminez back to Guatemala...  A much less expensive option than the 1.5 million dollar charges that were accumulating.  Even with attendant legal battles, this was a 'bargan" for the hospital.

Martin Memorial Hospital is not a unique hospital to resort to this "ploy'.  Hospitals will do what our federal government either will not or cannot do. 

"A few hospitals and consulates offered statistics that provide snapshots of the phenomenon: some 96 immigrants a year repatriated by St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix; 6 to 8 patients a year flown to their homelands from Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; 10 returned to Honduras from Chicago hospitals since early 2007; some 87 medical cases involving Mexican immigrants — and 265 involving people injured crossing the border — handled by the Mexican consulate in San Diego last year, most but not all of which ended in repatriation. " reports the New York Times.

It also serves as a potent reminder what the 'free market system' of entrepeneurial motivation can accomplish when our governments are frozen with inaction, and indecision.

Over all, there is enough traffic to sustain at least one repatriation company, founded six years ago to service this niche — MexCare, based in California but operating nationwide with a “network of 28 hospitals and treatment centers” in Latin America. It bills itself as “an alternative choice for the care of the unfunded Latin American nationals,” promising “significant saving to U.S. hospitals” seeking “to alleviate the financial burden of unpaid services.”

God bless "American know how".  It did not take a committee to accomplish this.

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