Atlanta Providers Reach Deal on Indigent Dialysis

Kate Brumback, TheTimesNews.com, September 7, 2011

Atlanta’s safety net hospital on Wednesday reached an agreement with a private dialysis provider to continue treating a group of indigent patients, some of whom became critically ill after their life-sustaining treatment was cut off last week when a previous contract expired.

Grady Memorial Hospital will pay Fresenius Medical Care to treat the nearly two dozen patients.

{Snip}

Most of the patients are illegal immigrants, and their treatment has been in limbo several times since budget cuts.

{Snip}

Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people 65 and older, covers routine dialysis for U.S. citizens regardless of their age. But illegal immigrants are ineligible.

Hospitals can get reimbursed by Medicaid, the state-federal program that helps low-income people, when they provide emergency dialysis for illegal immigrants in life-or-death situations. But the reimbursement doesn’t come close to covering what hospitals spend.

Bineet Kaur, one of the patients, was elated when she heard an agreement had been reached.

{Snip}

Kaur came to the U.S. from India on a tourist visa in 2000 and applied for political asylum, saying she didn’t feel safe in her country as a single woman living alone. Her asylum request was denied, making her an illegal immigrant. She was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2003 and told she needed dialysis.

{Snip}

The announcement of an agreement may have come too late for Reina Andrade. The 33-year-old was also turned away from Fresenius last week and from Grady on Saturday. She became so sick Sunday that she passed out and her sister took her to a suburban Atlanta emergency room, where she got treatment. With prospects for future treatment uncertain, she boarded a plane Wednesday morning for her native Honduras, her sister said.

Andrade, who had lived in the U.S. illegally for 11 years, has needed dialysis for the last five years.

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  • GB

    Amren’s subheadline is wrong. Free dialysis is not ending. We are still paying.

  • Lucas

    It is not uncommon for doctors in foreign countries to tell their patients that if they can’t afford an operation in their native country then they should fly to The US and present themselves at an emergency room and claimed to be a penniless tourist. If for instance, they need an immediate triple bypass, they cannot be denied a life-saving operation.

    Once they receive their operation courtesy of the US taxpayer they can return to their home country where they can at least afford the follow up visits.

  • Peejay in Frisco

    This reminds me of the illegal alien who was given a heart(or something) transplant, but she died because the blood type was wrong,so her family is suing , and they will probably get millions of $,dozens of times the money she could have earned working in Me-hico a whole lifetime.

  • Anonymous

    My father was diagnosed with kidney failure in 1992. He lived barely another 4 years. My family went almost completely broke paying for his dialysis (he was only 46 years old when diagnosed). Where the hell was Medicare, Medicaid, or even Social Security then? My mother applied and was turned down every time. Why? He was “too young” she made “too much money”, and now apparently, he disqualified by being an American-born citizen (eleventh generation at that). While I think kidney disease is one of the most horrible things that can happen to a body, we need to not make it obvious that all one has to do is to come here to the U.S. to receive free treatment. Treatment? Hell yes. Free treatment? Hell no, not for illegals.

  • Anonymous

    Goodbye Reina Andrade, and good riddance. My cousin works full-time and had no health insurance. He was rushed to a hospital a few years ago and needed bypass surgery. He didn’t qualify for medicaid and didn’t have a spare $100,000 so on a payment plan he sends money to the hospital every paycheck. I’m sure he won’t live long enough to pay it off. He doesn’t own a home to lose to medical bankruptcy. I’m so sick of seeing foreign born pregnant asians and hispanics who can’t barely speak a word of English waving around their medicaid cards getting the best of care (and free transportation and drugs) at a local hospital here in Queens, NY. Whatever you may think of medicare, doesn’t it anger you that the government wants to cut medicare so medicaid can be expanded? The biggest beneficiaries will be hispanics. But all immigrants will benefit.

  • Hirsch

    I was born in the United States, have paid taxes annually since becoming an adult, and served four years in the US Army. I am 30% disabled and went to the VA to ask for a dental appointment. I was refused because a veteran has to be one-hundred percent disabled to receieve free dental care. I wonder if I renounced my American citizenship, snuck into Mexico, and snuck back in to the US illegally if I could maybe get my teeth cleaned for free.

  • June

    This is the kind of stupidity that makes me want to bang my head on the wall. I urge everyone to go to News With Views.com and read Beverly Eakman’s column, “A Bold New Approach to Foreign Policy.” It will take your breath away. Her ideas for dealing with the rest of the world in this era of such turmoil is magnificient. She addresses the problem of illegal immigration along with a host of other problems we face. And, it definitely IS bold. Unfortunately, we don’t have anyone with the courage to follow a plan like this that would put us back on top.

  • Bill R

    Last year we went to Israel as legal tourists. We were made to understand, in writing, that if we encountered any kind of medical emergency, we would have to pay for it all out of our pocket, or pay for the flight home and any hospital/medical services needed to get us on the plane and home. THAT’S the policy we should have for immigrants, legal or illegal. But then, it all comes back to our Gov and elite leaders enticing third worlders to come here as replacement voting groups. In other words, enticing enough of the third world to come here to outnumber White Americans at the polls, so Dems can stay in power forever. And ever. And ever.

  • Anonymous

    A recent patient in the hospital where I work was a young 22 year old girl in this country illegally, unable to speak English, had two children, one of which was in NICU in another hospital. She apparently knew she was having some health issues but did not seek treatment or follow up with her doctor as instructed. Of course her kidneys failed and she was provided with dialysis treatments in my facility for at least a full month while her MediCal application was approved. I just wish there was some way the US could bill these patients’ native country to recoup the cost of the “free” medical treatment they receive here. If the hospital had money to burn and could afford it, that would be one thing; however, we are always being harped on about overtime and have done everything imaginable to cut spending.

    I’m not totally unsympathetic…I’ve had one Mexican national thank me over and over after his surgery, saying that in Mexico you would die if you had no money to pay for surgery. You can’t look that in the face and not feel a stab of sympathy for them. After all, they ARE human beings but hospitals are on the brink of bankruptcy because of all the free care provided for non-citizens. There has to be a better way.

  • Kenelm Digby

    This is a tough decision – but as the saying goes ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’.

    In the final analysis everything must be paid for – including highly expensive medical treatment.The third-worlders who shamelessly morally blackmail and hi-jack the charity of western medical providers are fully cognizant of this fact.

    Morally, westerners have no obligation to provide treatment to aliens, aliens who have never conrtibuted a penny to the medical fund.The litmus test is this – a westerner would never, ever get free medical treatment in a third world nation.

  • Kenelm Digby

    ‘She claimed asylum on the grounds she didn’t feel safe as a single woman living alone’.

    This has got to be one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever read in my life.

    A system designed to protect those persecuted for their political beiefs being stretched to the point of absurdity.

    Perhaps she desrves to stay for purely comedy reasons.

  • Istvan

    11 — Kenelm Digby wrote at 3:52 AM on September 10:

    ‘She claimed asylum on the grounds she didn’t feel safe as a single woman living alone’.

    Not as bad as all the Somali plotical refugees our genocidal government brings in to kill us while giving them public benefits.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    I just wish there was some way the US could bill these patients’ native country to recoup the cost of the “free” medical treatment they receive here.

    Billions in remittances sent to Mexico should be taxed to pay the illegals’ medical bills.

    Dozens of California hospitals and emergency rooms have shut down over the last decade because they could not afford to stay open after being endlessly swamped by illegal immigrants…the state of California now ranks dead last out of all 50 states in the number of emergency rooms per million people.

    This reminds me of the illegal alien who was given a heart (or something) transplant, but she died because the blood type was wrong, so her family is suing.

    Peejay:

    The illegal alien received TWO transplants of scarce hearts and lungs.

    This is the infuriating story that prompted me to take my name off of organ donor lists:

    Jessica Santallin was smuggled into the country illegally by her parents in search of treatment for a that doctors in Mexico could not fix.

    Surgeons gave Jesica Santillan donated organs with the wrong blood type, causing her body to reject the new heart and lungs. Two weeks after the operation, she received a second transplant – this time with the correct blood type. But it was too late to save her life.

    Her mother accused Duke Hospital, through a translator, of trying to murder her daughter.

    A settlement was reached but I could not find the amount. I assume the family was also given American citizenship.

    Here are a few facts about organ transplants:

    104,748 U.S. patients are currently waiting for an organ transplant; more than 4,000 new patients are added to the waiting list each month.

    Every day, 18 people die while waiting for a transplant of a vital organ, such as a heart, liver, kidney, pancreas, lung or bone marrow.

    Because of the lack of available donors in this country, 4,573 kidney patients, 1,506 liver patients, 371 heart patients and 234 lung patients died in 2008 while waiting for life-saving organ transplants.

    Nearly 10 percent of the patients currently waiting for heart transplants are young people under 18 years of age.

    Why was a foreign national put ahead of an American citizen?

    Bon