Currently, there is a war between the Mexican government and the cartels located in Mexico. Many of those who are on the hit list of the cartels or who were in the crossfire, have gone to the ports of entry of the US to seek medical treatment instead of seeking treatment in Mexico.
These "victims" some are american citizens working mexico and some are mexican nationals. They are sent to hospitals in the US, mainly in my city, the only one with a trauma unit, because they ("victims") are at high risk, they essentially put the hospital in lock down mode. Lockdown mode can last more than week, which costs money because of the need for more personnel, and it also makes it hard on the hospital employees and the other patients.
The cities that have these hospitals that these "victims" are going to foot the bill. How does this make you feel? What do you think should be done?
-- Thomason Hospital this year has treated 22 people believed to be victims of the drug wars in Mexico, costing El Paso County about $1 million in security and health care.
Commissioner Veronica Escobar asked those attending next week's meeting in Washington to stress El Paso's designation as among the nation's safest cities and the importance of the growing medical school and medical programs at and near Thomason Hospital.
She also asked that they discuss who will pay for the hospital and security costs of the patients.
"We shouldn't shift it off to Thomason," she said.
Officials in Reyes' office said the hospital has received about $52 million in the past 10 years to help pay for care of the indigent and residents of other countries, such as Mexico.
But Valenti said the current situation is far from normal.
"We're spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in security and unreimbursed hospital care," he said.
Although other hospitals may be closer to the port of entry being used by the patients, they are often taken to Thomason because their injuries require Level 1 trauma care.
Valenti and Apodaca said they would continue to respond to people who need medical help.
"When it comes down to people in need, we're all going to do the right thing," Valenti said.
He asked that the Commissioners Court send a letter to El Paso's legislative representatives to ask for help. The hospital district has already sent a letter.
"We cannot continue to send the message to Mexico that they can come in and do whatever they want," Commissioner Luis Sariñana said.