TAMPA, Fla. — Last year, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed SB 1718 into law, which requires hospitals to collect immigration status information of patients.

That information is now being collected in a dashboard created by the Agency for Healthcare Administration. It also estimates the cost of care for people in Florida illegally.

What You Need To Know

  • SB 1718 went into effect on July 1, 2023, in part requiring hospitals to collect patient immigration status information

  • Florida will spend more than half a million dollars to collect data from hospitals and nursing homes

  • The Agency for Health Care Administration launched the Hospital Patient Immigration Status Dashboard

  • The dashboard highlights the cost of uncompensated care for illegal immigrants

Dr. Yared Vazquez, who owns Vazcare in Lutz, says the new dashboard has left him concerned for the future of health care.

"When we see it in dollars and cents it dehumanizes health care," he said. "What was the overall health effect? Did we prevent any outbreak of any transmissible disease? Did we prevent a lot of deaths?"

Vazquez's goal has always been to make sure his community is healthy, and even offers private insurance through his facility.

"Prescriptions are available at the public who sees us as patients for $10 or less,” he said.

But for nearly a year now, Vazquez has battled questions from many patients seeking medical attention, including if they will be asked their immigration status.

Patients are not required to answer when they’re asked about their legal status, and its why Dr. Vazquez says he’s continuing to bring that education to his patients.

In a release from the Agency for Healthcare Administration, they say "the dashboard highlights the cost of illegal immigration which puts a strain on our health care system and taxpayers.”

Dr. Vazquez says the dashboard is not helping put patients’ health first.

“You have to take care of the whole population, even if you make concessions for it, you have to find legal ways, you have to find right ways to get access to care,” he said.

Based on the collected data from the dashboard, Miami-Dade County had the highest estimated amount of expenses incurred by illegal immigrant patients.