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Posts Tagged ‘health insurance’

Defects in the Safety Net: When the Emergency Option is the Only Option – Sural Shah

February 27, 2014 1 comment

Sural Shah
Cambridge Health Alliance & Harvard School of Public Health

Ana, age 29, came to the clinic for a sore throat, her two energetic children in tow. While her kids darted around the clinic space, which was donated by a local academic medical center, I introduced myself as a volunteer physician and began asking about her medical history. As Ana moved from her chair to the exam table, she told me she had traveled from Mexico to the United States as a teenager and now was living here illegally, a familiar story among patients in the largely Latino and impoverished Philadelphia community our non-profit clinic[1] serves. Moving my stethoscope around her chest, I was surprised to hear a harsh murmur suggesting problems with the blood flow through her heart.  Read more…

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“Doing No Harm” in an Age of Medical Repatriations: Challenges and Opportunities for Health Professionals – Juliana Morris

June 20, 2012 1 comment

Juliana Morris
Harvard Medical School

How often do doctors cause harm to their patients when they discharge them from the hospital? For a sizeable group of immigrant patients who are “discharged” to their countries of origin each year, the answer may be: more often than not. The story of Quelino Ojeda Jimenez, an immigrant from Oaxaca, Mexico, who became quadriplegic after a fall at his roofing job in Chicago, Illinois, is case in point.

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Conceptions of Reciprocity: The Navarro Transplant Case, Organ Allocation and Undocumented Immigrants – Emily Avera

May 14, 2012 1 comment

Emily Avera
TransplantInformers

Organ donors give the gift of life, but the sheer volume of patients hoping for transplants far outstrips donor generosity. How should we make decisions to ensure the equitable distribution of a limited supply of organs? In a system that depends on the goodwill of donors and public trust, this question becomes further complicated when undocumented immigrants seek transplants – especially in the United States, where undocumented immigrants consent to donate organs more often than they receive them. In light of this fact, should citizenship be a substantial consideration? Or should allocation decisions be made according to a claim of reciprocity – i.e., that individuals or groups who are willing to donate are more entitled to receive organs than others?

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When the Ward is Your Mooring: The Human and Economic Costs of Long-Term Acute Care for Undocumented Immigrants in the U.S. – Nora Kenworthy

January 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Nora Kenworthy
Columbia

recent New York Times article by John Leland recounted the lengthy medical history of Raymond Fok, an uninsured and undocumented immigrant who ended up marooned at New York City’s Downtown Hospital for 19 months after surviving a stroke. Although suffering from chronic health problems, including kidney failure, and initially in need of acute care, Mr. Fok remained in the hospital long after his initial emergency because he had no other place to go.

Without insurance or public benefits, numerous immigrants in the U.S. find similar fates in public hospitals, learning that without chronic or community-based services to assist them in recovery, they cannot be discharged. Rather than qualifying for a home health aide, or getting transferred to a nursing home, Mr. Fok’s status left him in the expensive care of an already cash-strapped public hospital. As Leland writes: “Mr. Fok’s immigration status never kept him from receiving treatment, but it helped make sure that his care would be delivered in the most expensive setting possible and in a place no one wants to spend more time than necessary.” Read more…

The Psychiatric Hospital as Safe House? Strange Asylum for Undocumented Immigrants with Mental Health Needs – Nora Kenworthy

January 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Nora Kenworthy
Columbia

Over the past few years, stories have trickled into the U.S. national media about hospitals struggling to cope with the burden of caring for undocumented immigrants who lack insurance and are ineligible for benefits. These reports, including a recent series by New York Times reporter Kevin Sack and an even more recent NYT piece by Sam Roberts, feature accounts of chronically-ill patients being removed from dialysis, or ‘repatriated’ to their countries of origin in comas, to be cared for by long-lost and poorly-equipped relatives. As Luis Plascencia wrote on this blog a few years ago, these rare glimpses into hospital decision-making processes indicate that rising costs and non-existent legal protections for immigrants have led to a ‘privatization’ and ‘outsourcing’ of deportation by health care institutions.

To date, this meager public attention has focused exclusively on hospitals treating physical illnesses. Virtually no mention has been made of how psychiatric and mental health institutions handle undocumented immigrants.  Read more…

News Round-Up (2/27/10)

February 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Nolan Kline
University of South Florida

Current talk about excluding immigrants from health care reform raises crucial questions about the relationship between health care access and immigration status. Who deserves access to medical care, and why are immigrants sometimes viewed as less deserving of care?

Mounting evidence suggests that the current health care reform proposals – whatever their fate – will do little to address immigrants’ health care  barriers, as Feet in 2 Worlds notes, citing a press release from New Yorkers for Accessible Health Coverage and the New York Immigration Coalition. In some respects, current proposals would create additional hindrances for certain immigrant groups.  Read more…

News Round-Up (12/23/09) – Unspeakable Exclusion: Immigration and the Politics of U.S. Health Care Reform

December 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Sarah S. Willen (SMU) & Nolan Kline (University of South Florida)

Although politicians on both the right and the left have expressed their reservations, the legislative push to pass health care reform before Christmas eve appears to be moving forward at full steam – importantly, without any substantive discussion of whether excluding unauthorized migrants and immigrants makes sense.

However the chips fall, we are left with one key take-home lesson from this lengthy, dramatic legislative saga: Americans of all stripes are, and remain, woefully ignorant about the scale and scope of unauthorized migrants’ and immigrants’ health needs; about the interconnectedness among im/migrants’ health concerns and those of citizens and authorized residents; and about the reasons – practical, financial, legal, and ethical – why helping im/migrants obtain health care might be in the collective best interest.

During the most recent debate, a few rare voices have bucked this trend. In a New York Times op-ed titled “Coverage Without Borders”, for instance, Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles, argues that, Read more…