Feb 15, 2011

I'm Training to be an INS Agent?

Arizona lawmaker's have proposed a bill (SB 1405requiring hospitals to check whether patients they treat are legally in the US or are illegal immigrants. Hospitals would not deny these illegals emergent treatment, but would be responsible for promptly reporting them to the authorities. If the hospital doesn't report, they are "subject to civil liability". AZ Senate President Pearce says that "It's a felony to (aid and) abet. We're going to enforce the law without apology."

So here's the deal. I graduated from college as a biologist. I am currently a medical student, and I will soon be a physician. No where in there do you see anything about INS training, right? Yeah, that's because I don't have any. And while I still have a significant amount of training to go through, that particular area of expertise is not in the cards.

Do I support deportation of illegal immigrants? Yep, sure do. But you know who I think should be doing that? People who are trained and paid to do that. INS agents. Not medical professionals. By treating that potential illegal alien in the ED, the medical staff is not aiding and abetting, they're doing what they have trained to do. Are they also committing a crime by treating prostitutes, drug addicts, drunk drivers...? 

I can understand the desperation here. AZ is overrun. Our health system is sagging, sagging, verging on collapse. We can't afford the legal citizens and their [frequently self-inflicted] problems, let alone illegals by the millions. But making it MY job to profile and screen them? Nuh-uh, guys, not gonna work. Let's not even get into the moral issues here; what about the damned paperwork? A recent study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine estimates community ED physicians spend about 55 minutes for every two hour shift working on "indirect patient care" such as paperwork, phone calls, and reviewing labs. It's not like nurses have it any better. Who is supposed to be taking on this extra workload?

I do have to say, at the end of the day, I could do the job of an INS agent while working as an ED physician for a price: give me an increase in pay for the extra work and a comfy pension. And then, give me handcuffs and a taser to use on people at my discretion. Drunk dude trying to get frisky? That'll be a taserin'! JCAHO inspector getting all up in my business about coffee at the nurses' station? That'll be a taserin'! Maybe a double for the JCAHO guy.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, but you see, this will be very effective. Illegals simply won't seek health care anymore.