More than 10,000 uninsured patients sought care at Texas emergency departments for life-saving kidney dialysis in 2017, incurring more than $21.8 million in hospital costs, finds data from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. It’s a common problem in emergency departments across the country.
The kidneys filter blood by removing waste and excess fluid. Patients with kidneys that no longer function require dialysis, where they are hooked up to a machine that purifies their blood. Each dialysis treatment takes an average of four hours three times a week.
For many uninsured patients, waiting until the need becomes life-threatening is the only option because regular treatment is not feasible. They go weeks without dialysis in some cases, and when they finally report to the hospital, it’s under dire circumstances — requiring care staff to divert resources to treat these patients.
This could shift time and resources away from