Program Providing Federal Funds to Hospitals Treating Undocumented Immigrants Could End Next Year
A CMS program that gives hospitals and physicians additional funds to cover the costs of treating undocumented immigrants is set to expire at the end of fiscal year 2008, the Tucson Citizen/Arizona Republic reports.
In an attempt to assist health care providers overburdened with the costs of emergency care for undocumented immigrants, CMS developed a program that over four years allocates $1 billion to hospitals and physicians treating undocumented immigrants. Arizona has received more than $92 million in such funding over the past two years, the Citizen/Republic reports. With the funding, hospitals typically collect up to 20% of what they bill for treating undocumented immigrants, according to the Citizen/Republic. To further reduce costs, some hospitals administer initial treatment and then transfer patients back to their home countries for additional care and rehabilitation.
Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl (R) said the program "was supposed to be a one-time program over four years, with the comprehensive immigration reform coming in at the end of those four years." However, he added, "That is not going to happen now. It will be very difficult to get a program like this reauthorized" (Tucson Citizen/Arizona Republic, 10/29).