Arizona hospital out more than $26M after providing medical care to migrant patients

Mar 2, 2023, 4:35 AM | Updated: 10:01 am

PHOENIX —  The only hospital within 180 miles of the Yuma area felt a surge of its own as migrants who crossed the southern border have racked up more than $26 million in medical bills over a year.

Robert Trenschel, president and CEO of the Yuma Regional Medical Center, said it’s critical his hospital finds a payer source for the migrants needing medical care.

Trenschel explained the migrants who come into the hospital arrive with various issues from bruises to bowel obstructions, but the largest group is maternity patients.

“We’ve had a significant number of maternity patients cross the border, but when the peak was happening, we would get up to five a day in our maternity unit. We only have a seven-bed area to do triage and see those individuals,” Trenschel said.

Trenschel added that many of the women coming into the hospital have not received any prenatal care, leading to most of the babies being born very ill.

“You never want to separate mom and baby, so we would either have mom stay extra days in the hospital or we would have them go to a hotel in the area and pay for transportation back and forth,” Tresnchel said, adding the hospital also pays for the hotel.

The increase of migrants at the hospital has also led to many non-urgent procedures being postponed.

“Any planned inductions or any planned elective procedures wind up getting put on hold while you’re dealing with more acute patients, which were, in this case, the migrants coming through the doors,” said Trenschel.

The surge of patients has also become taxing on hospital employees because the migrant patients require three times the resources, according to Trenschel.

“It takes us 10 hours about to resolve a case and give a patient, a resident, a discharge. It took us up to 30 hours of case management time to resolve a migrant case and get them a safe discharge,” said Trenschel.

Trenschel stresses the hospital takes pride in caring for everyone who walks through its door but explains it has become an unstainable business model. He adds the concern of the possible end of Title 42 continues to loom over him and hospital staff.

“The other concern is if Title 42 goes away and we get another migrant surge like we’ve had in the past … I don’t know what to think at that point,” Trenschel said.

Trenschel said he’s met with both Arizona U.S. senators and former Gov. Doug Ducey, and has had extensive conversations with Medicaid about the rising medical bills.

“Everybody is sympathetic and lends a listening ear, but nobody really has a solution,” Trenschel said.

At a press conference, Gov. Katie Hobbs told reporters she spoke with local leaders regarding migrant care at the Yuma medical center during her Monday trip to the border.

“Certainly, something we’re advocating for these federal dollars to help support with where they can,” Hobbs said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Cactus Park Precinct...

Escaped prisoner caught by citizens at Phoenix gas station

An escaped prisoner was caught by citizens at a Phoenix gas station Thursday night shortly after he fled from a detention center.

37 minutes ago

no motor vehicles sign near arizona border...

Arizona’s Sinema says Lukeville Port of Entry closure ‘unacceptable,’ unsure when it will reopen

The Lukeville Port of Entry has been closed for five days with no end in sight, a situation Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona says is "unacceptable."

4 hours ago

(Photo provided by Evolve Public Relations and Marketing.)...

Google Fiber internet service is slated for Queen Creek in early 2025

Queen Creek is set to become the third community in Arizona to get Google Fiber - a high-speed internet service provided by Google.

4 hours ago

No freeway closures are scheduled in metro Phoenix the rest of the year. (ADOT Photo)...

No weekend closures scheduled on metro Phoenix freeways through end of year

State transportation officials have no scheduled closures on metro Phoenix freeways through the end of the year.

4 hours ago

Buckeye Police Chief Larry Hall....

Buckeye Police Chief Larry Hall to retire after 10 years on the job

After 10 years on the job, Buckeye Police Chief Larry Hall is planning to retire in January.

4 hours ago

Pamela Andrews...

Silver Alert issued for 68-year-old woman last seen in Mesa

The Mesa Police Department has asked the public for help as it attempts to locate a woman who has been missing for three days.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Follow @KTAR923...

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.


Dierdre Woodruff

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Arizona hospital out more than $26M after providing medical care to migrant patients