What happens if you have a severe chronic condition or major accident, you can’t qualify for Medi-Cal as you are not lawfully present, must a hospital treat you if you show up in the ER Emergency Room?

You could get deported!

In an emergency, hospitals, by law –  EMTALA – must treat any patient in the U.S. until he or she is stabilized , regardless of the patient’s immigration status or ability to pay.

Yet, when it comes time for the hospitals to discharge these patients, the same standard doesn’t apply. Though hospitals are legally obligated to find suitable places to discharge patients (for example, to their homes, rehabilitation facilities or nursing homes), their insurance status makes all the difference. After reaching the patient’s family in Mexico, and discussing issues with the Mexican consulate, the case manager began making travel arrangements to a rehabilitation hospital in Mexico. Medical air transport to another country is an expensive proposition — roughly $50,000, depending on the equipment needed and the distance to the receiving facility in the patient’s home nation. From the hospital’s point of view, it was easy to see that this large one-time expense would be worthwhile. The transfer to Mexico would put a stop to the indefinite, uncompensated costs of continued hospitalization. Further, the transfer would open up the patient’s bed to a new (and presumably insured) patient.    NPR 4.9.2016  *  

Some hospitals have been deporting illegal immigrants even though the U.S. government is the only authority that can perform this action.  Medical repatriation is considered a human rights violation mainly because many of these hospitals act as “unauthorized immigration officers.”    Medical news today 4.23.2014 * Forbes 2.26.2018 *

Public Charge USCIS * Some places where undocumented can go   US News 11.2.2016 *

Links & Resources

Our page on ER’s having to treat you till your stabilized.

News report of hospital sending uninsured patient back to his country  * Wikipedia  *

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