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Arizona Edition: Treating migrants costly but no threat to Yuma hospital operations

Arizona Edition

Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) is the only hospital within about a 200 square mile area.

YRMC must treat everyone who comes through their doors, even when there is no one to bill for that service.

Since late 2020, when an often times overwhelming number of asylum seekers began gathering at the U.S.-Mexico border, the hospital has treated hundreds, likely thousands, of migrant patients who walked, Ubered, or were transported to YRMC by border agents.

Who pays for their care? So far, no one.

But YRMC’s effort to get the word out about the tens of millions of dollars in care it provides to migrants released by the border patrol led to a headline it did not intend.

Fox News, following a conversation with hospital CEO Dr. Robert Trenschel published a headline that said YRMC is on the verge of financial collapse due to its care for migrants.

Dr. Trenschel tell Arizona Edition – that is not true – that YRMC is financially healthy.

But he says, losing millions in unpaid bills to migrant care is not sustainable, and state and federal officials don’t seem to have a solution.

Dr. Trenschel explains how they calculated the cost of migrant care and what steps they have taken to collect for unpaid services.

Lou grew up in Tucson and has a long family history in the state of Arizona. He began his public radio career in 1988 at KNAU in Flagstaff as a classical music DJ and has been hooked on public radio since, transitioning to news after trying his hand at several other careers in publishing and commercial broadcasting. Lou has a degree in American Studies from Arizona State University and was KAWC's Morning Edition host for two and half years before becoming News and Operations Director.
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