Reprieve Eases Medical Crisis for Illegal Immigrants

Kevin Sack, New York Times, January 6, 2010

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In early October, when Grady, Atlanta’s public hospital, closed its outpatient dialysis unit for budgetary reasons, it agreed to pay for three months of dialysis at private clinics for about 50 dislocated patients. The patients, mostly illegal immigrants with no access to insurance, signed documents stating they understood that Grady’s payments would end on Jan. 3. {snip}

But only a few immigrants left, and many of those who remain acknowledge that they have done little to explore what they regard as untenable options at home. {snip}

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{snip} At Grady, where thrice-weekly dialysis treatments cost about $50,000 a year, the outpatient clinic ran a deficit of $3.5 million in 2008. {snip}

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Most of the seven patients interviewed said their plan was to stay put until Grady stopped paying, and then to present themselves at emergency rooms if necessary. {snip}

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While recognizing that Grady is providing care they would not receive at home, some said it had been unfair to withdraw it. {snip}

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Many of the immigrants said they simply had no plan for when Grady stopped paying the bills.

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[Editor’s Note: Other stories on Grady Memorial Hospital and its dialysis program are listed here.]

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