Border town’s only hospital ‘running out of resources’, on the brink of collapse caring for migrants
The migrant surge is overwhelming a border town’s only hospital, the facility’s director told G3 Box News.
Yuma Regional Medical Center – the only hospital within 60 miles – has been forced to delay residents’ care to treat scores of illegal immigrants, many of them pregnant women.
Meanwhile, the hospital is racking up millions in unpaid expenses. Over six months, caring for migrants has cost the 406-bed facility at least $20 million with no one to foot the bill, according to the center’s president and CEO, Dr. Robert Trenschel.
A BORDER TOWN HOSPITAL HAD TO DELAY RESIDENTS’ CARE TO ATTEND TO MIGRANT PATIENTS. WATCH:
WATCH MORE G3 Box News DIGITAL ORIGINALS HERE
“That’s an unsustainable model to have that unexpected expense without any revenue to offset it,” Trenschel said. “It’s a no-win situation.”
“We are running out of resources,” Trenschel said. “We’ve had to hire additional staff.”
PRIVATE BORDER SECURITY: YUMA FAMILIES FORCED TO HIRE ARMED GUARDS AMID MIGRANT SURGE, LOCAL OFFICIAL SAYS
In total, around 6 million migrants, including 1.2 million “gotaways,” have crossed the southern border since President Biden took office, according to Customs and Border Patrol.
El Paso, Texas, another border city, declared a state of emergency amid a migrant surge in December. Local hospitals were used for refuge since shelters were over capacity.
“It’s unfair to residents of our community, too, because we’re providing free care to these individuals,” Trenschel said. “The residents of our community don’t get free care.”
He also told G3 Box News his facility’s maternity unit has reached capacity since the largest number of migrant patients requiring care are pregnant. The next closest hospital — 62 miles away — recently stopped providing labor and delivery services.
“We would have to delay some of the planned inductions for our residents because of that,” Trenschel said. “Our residents have had to suffer through that.”
BORDER TOWN ON THE BRINK AS MIGRANT SURGE CONTINUES AND OVERWHELMS ITS RESOURCES. WATCH:
Hospital staff has faced additional burdens working around language barriers and providing medical equipment to ensure safe discharges, Trenschel said.
“These individuals take at least three times the number of human resources to resolve their cases and get them a safe discharge as a regular patient in our hospital,” Trenschel told G3 Box News. He said many migrants are also admitted with serious illnesses that require extensive care.
The hospital is also packed with flu and COVID-19 patients. Trenschel said his staff are overworked and tired.
MIGRANTS EXPLOITING BORDER WALL GAPS, CONTAMINATE CROPS, THREATEN NATION’S FOOD SECURITY, ARIZONA FARMERS SAY
Trenschel also warned that there could be dire consequences if Title 42 is eliminated. Ongoing legal disputes could ultimately end the Trump-era policy that allows border officials to quickly expel illegal migrants for health reasons.
“If Title 42 does go away and we do have another surge, it could be a public health emergency for sure,” Trenschel said.
Trenschel has discussed the hospital’s concerns with Arizona’s elected officials and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The hospital administration hopes the federal government finds a solution to cover the unpaid medical expenses.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE G3 Box News APP
“People lend an ear and they’re willing to listen, but nobody has any solutions,” Trenschel said. “We’ve been at this for well over a year now.”
“If we continue to have these extraordinary expenses that are not reimbursed, it could have a significant impact on the hospital,” he added. “We need a payer source to have this hospital remain sustainable, viable for the future.”
To hear more from Trenschel on the impact the migrant surge has on a border town hospital, click here.