Language, Financial Barriers Result in Fewer Hospital Visits by Hispanics in Arkansas
Experts say language barriers, financial constraints and better overall health among Hispanics in Arkansas and nationwide have resulted in fewer hospital visits, the AP/Springdale Morning News reports. Hispanics comprised 2% -- about 37,000 -- of 1.8 million hospital discharges in Arkansas in the last five years, while they represent 4.7% of the state's population, according to statistics compiled by the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services. The statistics exclude emergency department care. Neither the state nor the federal government record statistics on the race or ethnicity of ED patients, but of four hospitals in Arkansas that offered statistics, Hispanics represented an insignificant number of ED visits, according to the AP/Morning News. Cesar Compadre, director of the La Casa Health Network in Little Rock, said, "There's a lack of communication because the language barrier is a major, major problem. This is a problem because there are very few doctors and places that speak Spanish." Compadre added that a lot of Hispanics "aren't seeking medical attention. They're toughing it out." Hispanics have accounted for 18% of all maternity patients in the state so far this year and 12% of users of the state's Women, Infants and Children program, the AP/Morning News reports (Gambrell, AP/Springdale Morning News, 12/4).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.