225568 Undocumented Latinos in the San Joaquin Valley: Health Care Access and the Impact on Safety Net Providers

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 11:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Diana Traje, MPH , Central Valley Health Policy Institute, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA
Tania Pacheco , California State University, Fresno, Central Valley Health Policy Institute, Fresno, CA
John A. Capitman, PhD , California State University-Fresno, Central Valley Health Policy Institute, Fresno, CA
Purpose: The purpose of this presentation is to describe how safety net providers are impacted by serving undocumented Latinos and how Latino immigrant populations are experiencing care access in the San Joaquin Valley of California.

Methods: Qualitative interviews were conducted with administrators from 12 healthcare provider organizations in the San Joaquin Valley. Respondents included public and private hospitals, rural health clinics, federally qualified health center networks, and county clinic systems. Interviews with representatives from immigrant advocacy groups provided information on the healthcare experiences of undocumented Latinos.

Findings: Safety net providers do not collect information on patients' citizenship status; therefore, the number of undocumented immigrants using health services as well as the financial costs associated with treating them are unknown. Some providers reported a decrease in undocumented patients due to loss of employment in agricultural and construction jobs. Advocates for immigrant populations reported that the undocumented face multiple barriers when seeking healthcare, including: 1) fear of being reported to Homeland Security by service providers; 2) lack of understanding and ability to navigate through a complex health care system; 3) lack of access to interpreters for non-Spanish speaking indigenous persons.

Policy Recommendations: The State should insure long-term sustainability for safety-net providers. The State should seek supplemental federal funding for healthcare services to undocumented and uninsured populations. The State should recognize the need for community health workers and provide targeted funding for these services at the county level. Policies should address cultural barriers to healthcare access.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe how safety net providers are impacted by serving undocumented Latinos in the San Joaquin Valley of California. 2. Identify how Latino immigrant populations are experiencing care access in the San Joaquin Valley.

Keywords: Safety Net Providers, Access Immigration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a health policy analyst researcher for the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at California State University, Fresno.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.