Citizenship an Issue in Treatment of Burn Victims
The majority of wildfire victims being treated at UC-San Diego Medical Center's burn unit are undocumented Mexican immigrants without health insurance, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Hospital officials said that while many U.S. taxpayers oppose providing expensive medical care to undocumented immigrants, federal law requires hospitals to provide care regardless of immigration or insurance status.
Thomas McAfee, UCSD's physician-in-chief, said burn care includes grafts that can cost $500,000 per patient.
Last year, undocumented immigrants accounted for 10% to 17% of the $619 million in uncompensated care by San Diego County hospitals, according to the Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial counties (Clark/Berestein, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/31).