County to Bill Countries for Treatment of Foreign Indigents

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Dallas County plans to bill foreign countries for the cost of treating their indigent citizens -- but county officials acknowledge it's unlikely they'll be reimbursed.

Parkland Memorial Hospital earlier this week began documenting the number of indigent foreign nationals it treats, says John Gates, the hospital's chief financial officer.

The county was stuck with 26-point-eight (M) million dollars in unpaid bills for the care of non-county residents at the hospital. But only about 300-thousand of that was attributed to out-of-county indigent patients.

Gates say the hospital does not ask patients their citizenship, although some patients identify themselves as foreign citizens with ID cards or by other means.

There are no laws requiring counties or other nations to pay back the cost of treating patients.