Dental help for the undocumented

Undocumented immigrants mostly rely on free services to resolve their medical issues. In this article we will talk about different types of aid, including dental help for undocumented.

None of the 11.2 million undocumented immigrants who are in the country, according to government estimates, are eligible for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Neither are the 728,000 unauthorized immigrant youths – commonly known as “Dreamers” – who are protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Arrival of Children program.

A relatively small number of undocumented immigrants, perhaps tens of thousands, obtain health insurance through private employers. Unauthorized immigrants who are victims of certain crimes – such as domestic violence – may request psychotherapy services related to that specific crime. Says Yesenia Acosta, an immigration and employment attorney based in Los Angeles.

Keep reading: Medicaid Income Chart

Dental help for the undocumented

College students who are illegal immigrants

Many undocumented immigrants who are college students have the option of obtaining a health insurance through a student health plan. Many colleges offer these plans to students who do not have insurance. (some colleges require students to have a health policy) and school officials generally do not require proof of immigration status.

Five states – California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Washington – and the District of Columbia offer health insurance coverage to undocumented children under the age of 18. Unauthorized immigrants can also purchase health insurance directly from brokers. However, as they are not entitled to the subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, this insurance is often prohibitively expensive.

Medical care and dental services for undocumented immigrants

The medical and dental care options listed above cover a relatively small portion of unauthorized immigrants in the countrysays Daniel Ehlke, associate professor of health policy and management at the SUNY Downstate School of Public Health. To obtain dental care, the vast majority of undocumented immigrants must turn to the resources listed below.

Keep reading: What is Stilt? loans for immigrants

Dental help for the undocumented

1. Community health clinics

The national network of some 1,400 community health clinics offers a range of health services that include basic dental care for unauthorized immigrants. North County Health Services, which operates 13 health centers in North San Diego County and one in Riverside County, California, offers treatment for diabetes, heart disease, cancer screening, high blood pressure, screening for sexual transmission and dental care.

Health center officials do not ask people for proof of immigration status, and charge nominal fees for health care, based on a sliding scale. Depending on the treatment and the patient’s income, the officials of these clinics charge 25, 45 or 75 dollars per service. Says Irma Cota, executive director of North County Health Services. Prices are slightly higher for dental care, which is more expensive. Community health clinics don’t turn patients away because they can’t pay; treat some indigents free of charge.

2. Free medical and dental school clinics

Many of the large medical schools offer free medical care through clinics staffed by medical and dental students, which are supervised by physicians who are part of the university’s faculty. In a building that once housed the now-defunct District of Columbia public hospital, Georgetown Medical School students run the HOYA Clinic, which provides medical care to poor patients, including undocumented immigrants.

The center sees patients two nights a week and offers many of the same services available at community health centers. Says Dr. Eileen Moore, medical director of the clinic and associate dean for education and community advocacy at Georgetown University School of Medicine. The clinic serves many Hispanic immigrants from Central America, but also to a large number of patients from Africa and the Middle East. Says Sarah Schuessler, a second-year medical student who volunteers at the clinic.

In the clinic a translation service is used to communicate with patients who speak little or no English. When treating such a patient, the clinic’s doctors call the service, and a translator helps the doctors and the patient communicate. There are about 1,200 free clinics across the country, according to the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics.

Keep reading: Income limits for food stamps

3. Hospital emergency rooms

Under federal law, hospitals that receive federal funds — and most do — are required to treat patients who need emergency care, regardless of their immigration status or whether they are insured, Ehlke says. Hospital officials should provide care until the patient is stabilized, but not beyond that point. Hospitals must also develop a discharge plan for such patients.

For some undocumented patients, free community clinics provide the only care available to combat a deadly disease. For example, Morena, a transgender Salvadoran woman, fled her native El Salvador in 2014 after gang members beat her twice for extortion and threatened her life. He arrived in the District of Columbia that year without documentation and began receiving services at Whitman-Walker Health, a community health clinic in the city. A routine check-up in the summer of 2016 revealed that he had contracted the HIV virus.

Morena says she was devastated, but the clinic quickly provided her with counseling and medication, and she is determined to fight her illness. “I don’t know what I would do without the clinic,” says Morena, who declined to give her real name because she fears gang members could retaliate against her relatives in El Salvador.

4.- Community clinics

Community health clinics and free centers can only serve a fraction of the undocumented population. If the government estimate of the number of undocumented immigrants in the country is correct, there is about one community health clinic for every 85,000 unauthorized immigrants and one free health center for every 100,000 undocumented immigrants.

While free community clinics do a commendable job of serving unauthorized immigrants and others, health care resources available to undocumented immigrants are insufficient to meet the need, says Mario Russell, director of refugee immigrant services for Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of New York, which covers New York City and several nearby counties.

The number of facilities that provide primary care to unauthorized immigrants is insufficient, and many immigrants do not know where to find these resources.Russell says. Once a week, Catholic Charities of New York provides a clinic for undocumented immigrants, helping them find services, including health care. “We don’t have clinics or doctors, but we do have case managers who can help people get access to a clinic or hospital,” says Russell.

Keep reading: 401(k) for the undocumented: Everything you need to know

Dental help for undocumented immigrants: Conclusions

The shortage of health care options for unauthorized immigrants harms their health and costs the state more. People seek care in hospital emergency rooms for conditions that could have been prevented or managed, says Gabrielle Lessard, senior policy attorney at the Los Angeles-based National Immigration Law Center. “Lack of access to ongoing coordinated care undermines people’s ability to manage chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure,” says Lessard. “This translates into costly and inefficient service delivery and unnecessary human suffering.”

Keep reading: