Growing Undocumented Immigrant Population in Stockton Contributes to Increase in Demand for Health Care
The Wall Street Journal on Friday examined how increasing numbers of undocumented immigrants from Mexico who live in Stockton year-round are affecting public services, including health care delivery. In part as a result of the increased population of resident undocumented immigrants -- many of whom work as farm workers -- demand for medical services in Stockton has "surged," according to the Journal. For example, El Concilio, a not-for-profit social services group, has experienced a tripling of requests from farm workers for transportation to and from area hospitals and health clinics in the past 10 years, according to Jose Rodriguez, executive director of the organization. In addition, Channel Medical Center, a local clinic for low-income patients, has increased its OB/GYN services from two days to five days a week, partly as a result of the increased population of farm workers, Lourdes Gomez, a patient flow coordinator at the clinic, said.
Statewide, the number of undocumented immigrants who received Medi-Cal coverage for emergency treatment, prenatal care and some long-term care in nursing homes increased from 470,000 in fiscal year 2002 to 760,000 in FY 2003, raising the cost to the program from $817 million to $1.15 billion. Local health care systems have absorbed the cost of services that Medi-Cal does not cover for undocumented immigrants, the Journal reports (Porter, Wall Street Journal, 10/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.