Dialysis for Illegals

Grady Hospital in Atlanta is negotiating with private clinics to provide dialysis for indigents, including illegal immigrants. Federal and local tax dollars support Grady.

Budget cuts forced Grady to close its outpatient dialysis clinic nearly two years ago. Grady paid for patient treatment at private clinics through the end of last August and then reached an agreement with private providers to share costs through the end of this August.

How much longer will Georgia citizens be required to pay for those who willfully break the law and enter this country illegally?

Last year, Grady agreed to pay Fresenius Medical Care of Massachusetts $750,000 to provide dialysis services to 25 uninsured immigrants — most of them in the country illegally — for a year.

Fresenius, Emory Healthcare and dialysis provider DaVita Inc. also agreed to provide free care for another 13 patients.

Advocates worry that without regular dialysis, the health of the patients with end-stage renal disease will deteriorate rapidly, leaving the emergency room as their only option.  

Grady closed its outpatient dialysis unit in October 2009 in an effort to balance its books. The hospital said it was losing roughly $4 million a year on the unit, treating 100 patients.

Unlimited uncompensated care cannot continue. At some point we have to face reality.

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