KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Clinic Closure Leaves Indigent Dialysis Patients Looking For Treatment

A clinic closure in Atlanta has patients and clinic officials struggling to find new providers that will treat low-income patients who need kidney dialysis, The Associated Press reports.

"The treatment typically costs $40,000 to $50,000 a year, and Grady is just one of the struggling public hospitals cutting the service to reduce costs. Many indigent dialysis patients … are illegal immigrants, so facilities that give them routine treatments receive no federal money for their care." The clinic closed in October, but patients have been getting private dialysis treatments funded by the clinic - Grady Memorial Hospital. Other hospitals in Miami and Las Vegas are facing similar cuts and dilemmas.

"Patients who need dialysis can't survive long without it. 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 actually spend." Some patients are suing Grady, which has offered to fly the immigrants home for free, but a judge threw the case out in December. Patients are appealing (Brumback, 2/3).

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