Medicare provides access to chronic outpatient dialysis for most U.S. patients diagnosed with end-stage renal disease. However, many new and/or undocumented immigrants do not qualify due to lawful presence and work credit requirements. Medicare-ineligible dialysis patients often wait until their health is poor enough for admission to emergency room dialysis. We use University of New Mexico Hospital chart data from 2013–2016 for a case-control study measuring the likelihood of being admitted to an emergency room for dialysis among patients who use interpreters, which is employed as a proxy for new and undocumented immigrants, compared with other patients. We find Hispanic patients who use an interpreter are significantly more likely to be admitted to emergency rooms for dialysis compared with patients who did not use an interpreter. This study highlights the need for national, state, and local policies to address this inefficient and inequitable healthcare pattern resulting in unnecessary costs and suffering.


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pp. 1509-1521
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