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NYC Public Hospitals And Clinics Struggle To Deal With Influx Of Migrants

New York City’s public hospitals and clinics are overwhelmed by the influx of undocumented migrants seeking medical care, which is putting a significant strain on the city’s healthcare system.

NBC News reports in the last year, medical centers across the city have received more than 30,000 visits from undocumented migrants according to data from New York City Health and Hospitals, the operator of the city’s public hospitals.

Bellevue Hospital, located in Manhattan, has seen a quarter of overall migrant hospital visits, including birthing more than 300 babies. Many doctors in NYC’s public hospitals are overwhelmed but know they’re making a difference.

“This has been the hardest work I’ve ever done,” Dr. Ted Long, a senior vice president for New York City Health + Hospitals, who also holds a weekly clinic for patients in need of primary care, told NBC News. “But it’s been the most impactful work that I’ve ever done.”

Randye Retkin, director of LegalHeatlh, operates a taxpayer-funded legal clinic at Bellevue. Retkin told NBC News that most of the clients she sees are migrants. Many need lifesaving care including organ transplants and cancer treatment.

“Of course, we want to make sure we get to those clients or patients as soon as possible,” Retkin said. “The health care professional will say, ‘This person might need a transplant in a month or so,’ or ‘This person really can’t get the treatment they need. Can you help us out?’”

In August, New York Mayor Eric Adams, who has called out the Biden administration for its lack of movement on the migrants’ arrival, said it will cost the city $12 billion to deal with the surge. The administration countered, saying Adams has no plan or action for migrants after they leave the shelter system. Adams is now heading to the southern border to discourage migrants from coming to the city.

In addition to health services, the influx of migrants is putting a strain on the city’s education and housing systems.

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