El Paso Children's Hospital spends $60,000 treating illegal immigrant children

Updated: Monday, June 30 2014, 09:49 PM MDT
El Paso Children

By: Bill Melugin
EL PASO, Texas - El Paso hospitals are treating dozens of illegal immigrants for minor diseases, and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official told KFOX14 the federal government is picking up the bill.

El Paso Children's Hospital spokeswoman Susie Byrd told KFOX14 the hospital saw between 50-60 immigrant children for different medical issues at an estimated price tag of $60,000.

"They all came in through the emergency room, and were later released back to CBP," she said. "We will be billing CBP for those services."

A spokesperson with Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare told KFOX14 that as of Monday, Del Sol Medical Center treated 24 women and children immigrant patients since last week, and officials confirmed cases of scabies and lice. There have been no admissions to the hospital.

The spokesperson also told KFOX14 that Las Palmas Medical Center has seen 5-10 patients per day since last week, women and children only, and confirmed cases of scabies and lice as well. There have been no admissions to the hospital.

University Medical Center saw 11 patients on Sunday for various minor diseases, hospital spokeswoman Margaret Althoff-Olivas told KFOX14.

"UMC will be billing the Border Patrol for services provided," she said. "A medical screening entails taking a patient's vital signs and doing a general assessment of their overall condition. Due to patient privacy laws, I am unable to discuss the care that was provided to the immigrants yesterday."

UMC told KFOX14 one busload of immigrants will be transported to El Paso from the south Texas border every day for the next three weeks, and that the local hospitals will be switching off day to day on who provides medical screenings for them.

UMC, Del Sol, and Las Palmas told KFOX14 they don't have numbers yet on how much medical care for the immigrants will cost.

"Everyone is covered under MedPAR, it's a federal program run by ICE," said El Paso Sector Border Patrol spokesman Ramiro Cordero. "That's how we pay the hospitals. We screen everybody; If there's something our medics can't take care of, we have to take them to the hospitals."

MedPAR stands for Medical Payment Authorization Request. According to ICE, it is a web application which is maintained by ICE and used to authorize payment for medical, mental health, dental, and specialty services and equipment provided to detainees by outside specialists and facilities.

Before the outside services can be provided, medical personnel at the facility created a MedPAR request containing biographic information about the detainee, information about the medical condition being treated, and information about the referring provider and outside provider who is treating the detainee.

According to ICE, the detainee's medical provider is responsible for determining what treatment is medically necessary for a serious medical need and the MedPAR system approves payment for the requested service.

Cordero explained the process to KFOX14 in a phone conversation on Monday.

"Most of the migrants are coming in from south Texas, when they get here by plane or by bus, they are immediately given a medical screening by Customs and Border Protection agents," he said. "If there is an issue, they are taken to the hospitals, if not, they are turned over to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. They have to be medically cleared before they are turned over."

Cordero told KFOX14 many of the immigrants are simply walking up to border agents and turning themselves in rather than trying to jump or get around a border fence.

Along with scabies and lice, he said agents are seeing immigrants with fevers and diarrhea.

A Border Regional Advisory Council on Trauma meeting was held at Sierra Providence East Medical Center on Monday, though it was closed to the media and the public. A source sent KFOX14 photos of immigrant children being medically screened in blue tents right outside of the hospital.

As KFOX14 has reported, the Border Patrol in South Texas has been overwhelmed by an influx of unaccompanied children and parents traveling from Central American countries.

As a result, many of them are being transported to other areas in the Southwest, including El Paso.


El Paso Children's Hospital spends $60,000 treating illegal immigrant children
comments powered by Disqus

El Paso Times Headlines

Egypt calls for Israeli, Palestinian peace talks
CAIRO (AP) - The U.S. and Egypt sought Tuesday to find an end to two weeks of bloodshed in the Gaza Strip, and officials raised the possibility of restarting stalled peace talks between Israel and Palestinian authorities as a necessary step to avoid sustained violence.
KFOX Weather: Partly cloudy and hot with a 20% chance of a thunderstorm
Today: Partly cloudy and hot with a 20% chance of a thunderstorm. Near record heat. El Paso 101/76. Las Cruces 99/70.
1 dead in crash on Trans Mountain Road
One person is dead in a crash on Trans Mountain Road reported just after midnight Tuesday, El Paso police said via Twitter.
Triple-A baseball: El Paso Chihuahuas fall to Sacramento River Cats 6-1
For the second straight game, the El Paso Chihuahuas struggled on offense and the result was a 6-1 loss to Sacramento on Monday night at Southwest University Park in front of 7,076 fans in a game that featured a 67-minute rain delay.
›› Photos: El Paso Chihuahuas vs. Sacramento River Cats 07.21.2014
Manhunt Monday: Two men wanted in unrelated theft cases
Law enforcement officers are looking for two El Paso men wanted in unrelated cases.
UTEP football: Miners excited as they head to Conference USA media day
Twelve months ago safety Wesley Miller was learning a new defense and quarterback Jameill Showers was learning a new team.
Man critically injured in motorcycle crash in Northeast El Paso
A 19-year-old El Paso man was critically injured in a motorcycle crash early Monday in the Northeast, police said.
Las Cruces Sun-News: Crowd gathers to watch 'Hotel Hell' premiere featuring Meson De Mesilla
LAS CRUCES - Meson De Mesilla owner Cali Szczawinski went all out to recruit guests to her team before the premiere of the "Hotel Hell" episode featuring her restaurant and hotel.
Gov. Rick Perry to send National Guard to border, dismisses reports that border is peaceful
AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry on Monday dismissed reports from border police departments that crime has not risen with the wave of Central American immigrants crossing the border into South Texas, choosing instead to send troops to protect the border.
El Paso City Council begins budget workshops
Some familiar hot topics and a few new simmering ones emerged as the El Paso City Council began deliberating the city's proposed $826.2 million budget for fiscal year 2015 on Monday.
El Paso County commissioners send memo on proposed indigent defense plan
County Commissioners Court on Monday provided its input on a proposed plan to improve the indigent defense appointment system in El Paso.
El Paso boxer Antonio Escalante arrested on suspicion of DWI
An El Paso boxer was arrested last week on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, his third such arrest this year.
Reputed gang leader, William Alfonso Fonseca Reyes, accused in Juárez lawyer deaths
A reputed gang leader is accused of ordering the killing of two prominent Juárez lawyers in May, the Chihuahua state attorney's office said.
El Paso City Council may limit prisoner transport service to summer months
The city of El Paso is rethinking whether to end or amend a prisoner transport contract to limit the service to the busy summer months, officials said Monday.
Pastry pranks: Vandals smear cars with baked goods
HILLSBORO, Ore. (AP) - There's mischief afoot in one suburban Portland neighborhood, but police say it doesn't involve the typical spray paint or broken windows. No, we're talking pastry here - maple bars smeared on cars, doughnuts left atop windshield wipers, pastries littering a yard.
KFOX14 El Paso - Links Mentioned Get the latest web resources mentioned on KFOX14 News!