246111 Examining the Access to Care and Quality of Care in the Latino Community in New Orleans

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Yu-wen Chiu, DrPH, MPH , School of Public Health, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA
Tung-Sung Tseng, DrPH, MS , School of Public Health, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA
Daesy Behrhorst , School of Public Health, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA
Chih-Yang Hu, ScD, MSPH , School of Public Health, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA
Jessica Behrhorst , Performance Improvement, Ochsner Health System, New Orleans, LA
Background: The devastating impacts of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans,especially on its health care infrastructure and communities have been well documented. However,little research has been done on the access to health services and quality of care received among the Latino population that surged in the New Orleans metropolitan area after Hurricane Katrina. According to U.S. Census of Bureau, more than 60,544 Latinos resided in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. More than 47% of the Latino population in these two parishes reported speaking English “not very well”. The diversity and complex health needs of this population pose challenges for planning and delivering health services. Thus, understanding the barriers and facilitators of accessing health care and evaluating the quality of care received in the Latino community are important for developing policies to help reduce disparities in access and health outcomes.

Method: This study employed a mixed-method approach to assess Latinos' access to health care and their experience with local health care providers. Qualitative and Quantitative data from Latino adults living in the New Orleans metropolitan area were collected. Qualitative data were gathered from focus group sessions and quantitative data were collected through a Latino community health survey. The focus groups and questions were conducted and presented in Spanish and facilitated by a native Spanish speaker to allow for the best possible communication and setting. Community Health Survey was conducted at a Spanish church, community English as second language (ESL) classes, and a community health fair. This anonymous survey asked about their demographic information, length of time in the U.S., self-reported health status and English language proficiency, type of health care received within the past 12 months, experience with their health care providers, and reasons to postpone necessary health care.

Results and conclusions: Preliminary results indicate that more than 73% of Latinos did not have health insurance coverage regardless their immigration status. Latinos who moved to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina were less likely to have a physician visit in the last 12 months compared to their counterparts. The barriers of accessing health care include:high cost of medical care and medications, language difficulties, and the ability to navigate local health care delivery system. About 35% of Latinos reported poor communication with their health care providers. Latinos also experienced long wait time at hospital/or doctor's office and difficulties in getting timely appointments, 32% and 42% respectively.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
To identify the barriers of accessing health care among Latino population and assess Latinos’ perceived quality of care during their health care encounters

Keywords: Access to Health Care, Quality of Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I hold a master and doctor degree in Public Health. I am a teaching faculty of Louisiana State University School of Public Health. My research areas include quality of cancer care and access to health care among minority populations.
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.