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Intermountain backs 150 Utah caregivers worried about DACA status

CEO Mark Harrrison said the system will help file the paperwork required for them to continue to legally live and work in the U.S.

Bernie Monegain, Editor, Healthcare IT News

Salt-Lake-City-based Intermountain Healthcare will support the 150 caregivers who could be affected by the potential repeal of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.

Intermountain Healthcare's leadership and board of trustees will help employees file the paperwork required for them to continue to legally live and work in the U.S.

DACA is an immigration policy established by the Obama administration in June 2012. It allows immigrants who entered the country as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit. Approximately 690,000 people across the country were enrolled in the program as of 2017, including more than 9,000 Utah residents.

[Also: AMA: Reversing DACA puts patient care at risk, could worsen doctor shortage]

"We stand behind them and will fully support them as they seek to extend their DACA permits." Intermountain Healthcare CEO Mark Harrrison, said in a statement.

The American Medical Association urged Congress on Sept. 5 to take action to ensure that individuals with DACA status would be allowed to stay the United States.

 "We particularly are concerned that this reversal in policy could have severe consequences for many in the health care workforce, impacting patients and our nation's health care system.," AMA CEO and Executive Vice President James L. Madara, MD, urged in the letter.

The Trump administration rescinded DACA on Sept. 5, 2017, but implementation was delayed six months to give Congress time to come up with a solution for the population that would no longer be eligible.

About 150 caregivers with DACA permits are employed at Intermountain's 22 hospitals and 180 clinics in a wide variety of positions, such as nurses, medical aides, and food service and maintenance workers.

 "These caregivers are making a tremendous contribution and a positive difference in the lives of Utahns," Harrison said. "We stand behind them and will fully support them as they seek to extend their DACA permits."

"The leadership of Intermountain Healthcare supports a lasting, long-term solution to immigration policies that allows individuals currently covered by DACA permits to be able to continue to legally live and work in the U.S.," he added.

DACA permits that expire during the next six months can continue to be renewed. DACA recipients with a permit set to expire before March 5, 2018 will have the opportunity to apply for a two-year renewal if they do so by October 5.

Utah-based Intermountain Healthcare operates 22 hospitals, 180 clinics, a Medical Group with about 1,500 employed physicians, a health plans division and other health services.

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com

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