Case Management

CMW News: Communities cut care for undocumented immigrants

Case Management Weekly, March 25, 2009

Many healthcare providers believe it would be better practice to spend $100 providing primary care services to uninsured patients, rather than the more usual scenario of spending $500 or more to treat patients who have become so sick they are forced to seek care at the emergency department.

However, for many community healthcare centers, providing this service for undocumented immigrants is no longer an option. When given a choice between closing clinics and dropping the care of undocumented immigrants, Sacramento County in California chose to keep its clinics open.

While it’s difficult to get absolute numbers on undocumented immigrants, Pew Hispanic Center in Sacramento County estimates that 59% of the undocumented immigrants living in the United States have no health insurance, accounting for about 15% of the nation’s uninsured overall.

No law requires institutions to provide primary care to patients, but any facility funded by Medicaid must provide emergency care to anyone who needs it.

Source: Austin American-Statesman

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