153585 Health seeking behaviors of low–income immigrants in El Paso County (Texas)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Carla Alvarado , School of Public Health, University of Texas, El Paso, TX
Nuria Homedes, MD, DrPH , Global Health Program, University of Texas, School of Public Health, El PAso, TX
El Paso is located in the middle of the US-Mexico border, is one of the poorest US cities, and is a port of entry for immigrants from Latin America. About 40% of the population is uninsured, the physician to population ratio is lower than for the rest of Texas, and health care resources are limited.

To document the health needs and barriers to health care of the immigrant low-income population in El Paso County we conducted 81 in-depth structured interviews in 68 low-income and immigrant households, about half in the rural area and half in the city. Almost a third of our respondents (29) were US citizens, 39 were undocumented, 9 were processing their papers, and 4 had a local visa.

We gathered information on health conditions, insurance status, whether they had a usual source of care, how they resolved their most recent health problem, and their use of Mexican health services and pharmacies. We inquired about barriers to US and Mexican health services and about their potential solutions. We were able to compare the problems and behavior of the following subgroups: rural vs urban; insured vs uninsured; legal vs illegal residents.

Regardless of their legal status, most interviewees faced barriers to health services, even the insured, which led them to engage in self-medication, to postpone needed treatments, and to use multiple providers. Rural residents had more difficulties than urbanities to access services; and the vast majority of the interviewees consumed medicines purchased in Mexico.

Learning Objectives:
1. To identify health needs and barriers to health care of the immigrant low-income population in El Paso County. 2. To understand how health needs and behaviors differ according to place of residence, immigration status, and insurance coverage

Keywords: Access to Health Care, Barriers to Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.