Hood says the U.S. population of immigrants has less access to healthcare not just because it is afraid to try to access it. Often immigrants don't know about it or don't know they need it.
While the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act requires a hospital to provide a medical screening exam and stabilizing treatment for people with emergency medical conditions regardless of their ability to pay and to transfer them to another facility if the hospital is incapable of providing appropriate care. But EMTALA doesn't go far enough, Hood says.
"We would like it to include provisions for blood pressure checks, appropriate blood glucose levels for those with diabetes, and other conditions" that become much more expensive when people go without primary care, she says. "We need a coherent national strategy to deal with these issues.