Free Health Care for Illegal Aliens Needs Improvement, Some in Congress Say
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
By Penny Starr, Senior Staff Writer – Free health care provided to illegal aliens detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement needs to be investigated and improved, some members of a congressional Homeland Security panel said on Tuesday, despite testimony that the number of detainee deaths is way down and that health screenings have saved lives.

Capt. Jose Rodriguez, director of the U.S. Public Health Service's Division of Immigration Health Services, testified that each individual taken into ICE custody is given a verbal health screening and is tested for tuberculosis within 12 hours. Dental exams also are provided, and women ages 10 to 55 are given pregnancy tests at the initial health screening.

Individuals who are still in custody after 14 days are given a complete physical.

“The purpose of this hearing is to investigate the health care services that ICE provides individuals held in its custody at detention centers around the country and to discuss efforts that Department of Homeland Security will do to improve those services,