On Thursday, members of the House Judiciary Committee who belong to the GOP held a meeting with the leadership of the Yuma Regional Medical Center. The purpose of the meeting was to understand the impact of the significant influx of migrants on medical services in the region, Townhall reports.
Dr. Robert Trenschel, President and CEO of the medical center, disclosed to the delegation that his hospital has accrued approximately $26 million in unpaid bills for services provided to migrants.
However, Trenschel affirmed that the medical center prioritizes patients based on the severity of their illnesses or injuries, regardless of their legal status. Consequently, medical attention is often given to undocumented immigrants as they tend to suffer from severe illnesses and injuries after their journey across the border.
Yuma, a city with a population of just under 100,000, has several nearby towns that contribute an additional 38,000 people to the area. As a result, the medical center was constructed to cater to the needs of this combined population. However, since the influx of migration that commenced in their vicinity in December 2021, the region has witnessed over 300,000 unlawful entries.
"We have to see them. Any one of those that needs a hospital visit and we've done that. We do it with pride...But what we need is a payer source for those individuals because we have nobody to bill. They have no resources, and they've just continued to come in," Trenschel said.
"We've had people in our ICUs for over 60 days...They've needed dialysis, heart surgery, cardiac catheterization, I mean, they're sick when they come over. Not all of them, but many, and some come in with minor bumps and bruises, things like that...and we have no payer source for that care, and that's our biggest issue. For a hospital like us, it prevents us from doing other things we normally do for our community," he went on to say.
While the hospital system is not currently facing imminent collapse, the loss of $26 million within a relatively brief period of time has had a significant impact on its operations, according to Trenschel.
He went on to reiterate that "the community is the one that suffers."
According to Trenschel, the hospital has been forced to delay scheduled inductions for U.S. citizen mothers due to a shortage of space in the maternity unit. In his words, "Sorry, we're just full in our maternity unit."
Lawmakers, led by Ohio Republican Chairman Jim Jordan, sought to obtain a firsthand account of the situation on the ground, the Washinton Times reports.
However, Democrats chose to boycott the hearing and labeled it as a political ploy.
Mr. Jordan took issue with this characterization and expressed frustration that Democrats were dismissing the experiences of those affected by the issue at hand.
During the hearing, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas faced heavy criticism in the absence of any Democratic defenders.
Yuma County Supervisor Jonathan Lines, one of the witnesses, accused Mr. Mayorkas of lying during a previous meeting with local leaders by failing to fulfill his promise to close nine gaps in the border wall.
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