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Hospitals And Police Agency Budgets Battle Over Arrests When Suspects Need Medical Care-Unarrest and Re-arrest

Posted Feb 05 2011 12:29pm

We have yet one more battle of budgets with suspects or individuals being arrested needing medical care before they can be brought to a police station and we come back around to money.  Apparently at least in California, if someone who is arrested image needs care and the patient is “unarrested” during the hospital visit, then the police agency is not responsible for the bill at the hospital; however if they they continue to be legally arrested, then the bill goes to the police agency for the care of the arrested suspect.

This is happening at Scripps in San Diego and in 2010 they had this occurrence happen over 400 times, which depending on the care administered, becomes a big potential dollar item.  According to this article, the handcuffs are removed, the patient is treated while the police officers wait and then when care is finished, the suspect gets re-arrested. If the patient doesn’t have insurance then I guess the hospital has to go through other routes in order to collect.  I wonder how that would work if a conviction in court later is deemed and the patient serves time? It sounds like this is yet one more fine line in the healthcare system that has some open holes and you can see both sides of this one with the police agency not wanting to be a funding source for ER treatment, but on the other hand it puts the hospital in an odd spot too with uncertainty with payment at times.  BD

LA JOLLA - There's a growing problem facing local hospitals.

According to hospital administrators, law enforcement officers are letting go arrested suspects at emergency rooms; waiting for them to get better - - only to arrest them again.

Chris Van Gorder, CEO of Scripps Health sees more and more law enforcement officers dropping off injured or sick people they've just arrested at the hospital's doorstep.

Vna Gorder said, "I've seen police officers bring in a patient in handcuffs. Take the handcuffs off. Wait around till the emergency care was delivered then rearrests the patient, and take them to jail."

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