Hospital buys plane tickets for illegals
18 July 2006, AMSTERDAM — AMC hospital in Amsterdam has come up with a novel solution to help illegal immigrants who have finished with medical treatment – a plane ticket to their country of origin.
18 July 2006
AMSTERDAM — AMC hospital in Amsterdam has come up with a novel solution to help illegal immigrants who have finished with medical treatment – a plane ticket to their country of origin.
"Patients who have finished treatment normally speaking go home or to a retirement or after-care centre. That is not possible for illegal immigrants who don't have health insurance. At the same time it is difficult to just put them out on the street," AMC spokesperson Frank van den Bosch said.
Newspaper 'Parool' reported there is no agency charged with taking over the care of these people. As a result they often end up staying in hospital longer than medically necessary.
Van den Bosch said this is bad for the patient and bad for the hospital. "They are in the wrong place with us. They are taking up an expensive bed and it is bad for the atmosphere on the ward when patients stay unnecessarily long in hospital."
He said staff at the AMC had "moved heaven and earth" to find a structural solution, without result to date. Occasionally, drastic steps are taken in individual cases. "We pay sometimes for a plane ticket to the person's country of origin if the appropriate care is available there."
Agreements have also been made with the Salvation Army about providing help to some discharged patients. Patients in need of after-care are sent to a nursing home. "AMC and the nursing home jointly cover the costs, with the support of the health insurance industry's bad debtors fund, for the cost of the admission," Van den Bosch said. A bed in the AMC is five to six times more expensive than a bed in a convalescent home.
He emphasised that the emergency measures been taken by the hospital are not long-term solutions. "It is obviously too crazy for words that a hospital has to pay other healthcare institutions and for plane tickets."
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Dutch news