16 medical facilities medically screening migrant children

16 medical facilities medically screening migrant children

Approximately 130 children in Border Patrol custody have received a medical screening since Christmas evening, said the director of the Border Regional Advisory Council.

Border RAC, a non-profit organization, is organizing the mandatory secondary medical screenings ordered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after the death of two children while in CBP custody.

The children who are receiving the mandatory health screenings are 10 years old and younger, although it could also include minors up to the age of 17, said Wanda Helgesen, director of Border RAC.

The minors are all accompanied by a parent and a Border Patrol agent during their visit to the hospital and the parent could also visit he doctor if he or she feels sick, said Helgesen.

The Hospitals at Providence, Del Sol Medical Center, Las Palmas Medical Center and University Medical Center plus their free-standing emergency centers, make a total of 16 medical facilities, said Helgesen.

“(The children) have a head-to-toe assessment and then they determine whether or not that individual needs treatment,” said Helgesen.

She said between one and four children are transported to the medical facilities at a time depending on how busy the medical centers are. The agents track which medical center is less busy through an online system, said Helgesen.

"We do want to make sure that we don't overburden any single facility because their goal obviously is to continue to care for the citizens of our community,” said Helgesen.

After the hospitals finish their evaluations, they send the bill to the federal government for reimbursement, said Helgesen.

Despite having the 16 medical facilities available, Helgesen said Border RAC may reach out to clinics within the next days to have more options to medically screen check the children.

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