Hospitals Stuck With 'Permanent Patients'
Illegal immigrants, those without insurance, cost millions to care for
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jan 3, 2012 2:43 PM CST
New York Downtown Hospital is seen in this January, 2007 file photo.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Look long enough in most hospitals, and you’ll probably find some decidedly unwelcome guests. Hospitals, particularly those in urban centers like New York, are faced with a growing burden from so-called “permanent patients,” who hospitals are stuck caring for even though they are well enough to be released, the New York Times reports. Hospitals by law cannot release a patient to a shelter or to the streets, so if patients have nowhere to go the hospital is stuck keeping them—and footing the bill.

These “permanent patients” often include illegal immigrants or people without insurance. One Chinese man, for example, spent more than four years in a New York hospital after a stroke. As an illegal immigrant he was ineligible for Medicaid benefits, and his Chinese relatives refused to take him off the hospital’s hands. “This gentleman cost us millions of dollars,” the hospital’s president says. “This is an acute-care hospital. This patient shouldn’t be here.” And his stay was comparatively short—most of these patients stay more than five years, says a city health official, estimating that New York’s facilities are home to some 300 such patients.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Hospitals Stuck With 'Permanent Patients' is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 16 comments
Jan 11, 2012 8:44 AM CST
If their well enough and illegal ship them back to their home country. They probably have National health insurance there anyway.
Jan 4, 2012 11:30 AM CST
Well, I know for a fact that this isn't true in Atlanta. Homeless people get released to the streets every day here. One homeless woman we knew was literally about to be released onto the streets in her hospital gown because they weren't able to salvage the clothes she came in with.
Jan 4, 2012 6:05 AM CST
so the illegal alien wasn't eligible for benefits he didn't earn or deserve...poor guy....drop him off at the relatives house and wish him the best of luck...nice shitty family ya got there bub