Area hospitals are responsible for much of the cost associated with treating injured border crossers, but most don’t keep track of how many there are or of the cost.
Many of the less seriously injured go to Holy Cross in Nogales. When the injuries involve trauma, patients are taken to Tucson, either to University Medical Center or Tucson Medical Center.
Banner-University Medical Center doesn’t specifically track falls from the border fence, but Border Patrol agents bring in about 50 crossers a year with fall injuries, said Katie Riley, a hospital spokeswoman. They include falls from the wall as well as in the desert. Most are fractures and lacerations.
The charges vary depending on severity of injury, she said. “We bill these patients, but few are able to pay anything, so most of the charges are written off.”
Tucson Medical Center doesn’t track the immigration status of its patients, hospital spokeswoman Rhonda Bodfield said. In 2014, TMC provided $13.6 million in uncompensated care costs, which includes charity care, bad debt and discounts for the uninsured.
Until several years ago, the federal government reimbursed hospitals for a small fraction of those expenses, but that source of revenue no longer exists.("Holy Cross" is evidently a reference to Carondelet Holy Cross Hospital in Nogales, Arizona. Hospitals in Nogales, Sonora apparently cater heavily to bargain-hunting, self-paying customers from the U.S. and leave to their U.S. counterparts the deficits arising from Mexicans' experiences with the border fence.)It's understandable that hospitals don't track the costs, since it would be another bureaucratic bother and would lack a compensating reward. But isn't that still penny-wise, pound-foolish, since cumulative outrage over well-documented costs would add to the pressure on our feckless "public servants" to actually do something?Perhaps the most striking feature associated with Trevizo's article is that, among the 123 online comments that have accumulated up to 9 p.m. Mountain Time on July 8, there isn't a speck of sympathy for those casualties arising from encounters with the fence.Samples:
- Has anyone asked Mexico WTH they think our border fence is for? Just as we can not and are not obligated to idiot proof the desert we also are not obligated to idiot proof our own border fence.
- Make the fence two stories higher and then let them jump. Less medical costs.
- Too bad they don't land on their heads and break their necks.
- What's next? Feeling sorry for the armed bank robber that got ink in his eyes when the inkpack exploded in his stolen money? LOL
- I think that strategically placed landmines on the Mexican side would go a long way in preventing injuries on the "terrible" fence.
- They'd stop invading US territory if we shot them. Nothing says "go away" like piles of bodies rotting in the sun. But then, Mexico is such a cesspool that its citizens would gladly die to escape it. So now they're turning America into the same cesspool that they fled.
- I think it needs a moat full of alligators so that there's nothing left for us to have to pay medical bills for.My interpretation: Reaction to this article turns out to be another good example of the fed-up-ness of Americans with the immigration madness that has been ceaselessly forced down our throats. "If there is hope, it lies in the comment threads."Another good sign, I think: A goodly fraction of the harsh comments are, apparently, from women.Finally, quite a few readers were angry enough to take it out on the reporter, having detected editorializing in the writing that I don't think is actually there. Closing examples:
- The [reporter] is dumber than a bag of hammers. Breaking bones in the commission of an illegal act is swift justice.
- More agitprop from the Arizona Red Star.