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Physicians call for better access to health care for immigrants
Date:4/7/2011

evalent infectious diseases. This will make better use of public health dollars by improving the health status of this population and alleviating the need for costly emergency care.
  • Federal government support for safety-net health care facilities and offsets for costs of uncompensated care provided by these facilities.
  • Acknowledgement that physicians and other health care professionals have an ethical and professional obligation to care for the sick. Immigration policy should not interfere with the ethical obligation to provide care for all.
  • Policies that do not foster discrimination against a class or category of patients in the provision of health care.

    "Access to care for immigrants is a public health issue that should be of concern to all of us," continued Dr. Ralston. "Take the case of immigrants with tuberculosis; under the current system they may be afraid that going to a hospital to seek treatment would place them at risk for deportation. If they decide to delay care because of this fear, it could increase the number of people exposed to the disease exponentially. Imagine if those same immigrants were not only unafraid to visit the hospital, but they were receiving regular primary care services. They may be treated before experiencing any symptoms and decrease the public exposure that much more."

    The new policy will need to be complex to adequately reflect the complexity of the issue. It will need to take into consideration:

    • The need for the country to control whom it admits within its borders.
    • The need for the U.S. to differentiate its treatment of those who comply with the law in establishing legal residency from those who do not.
    • That hospitals and physicians have an ethical obligation to provide care for residents lacking legal documentation who seek care in an emergency situation.
    • That society has a public health interest in ensuring that all residents have access to health care,
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    Contact: Steve Majewski
    smajewski@acponline.org
    619-525-6229
    American College of Physicians
    Source:Eurekalert

    Page: 1 2 3

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