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Children in non-English-speaking households face many health disparities, researcher concludes
Date:6/10/2008

more likely to live in low-income households," said Dr. Flores, who also serves as director of the division of general pediatrics at Children's Medical Center Dallas. "Clinicians providing care for them should make sure caregivers are aware of programs documented to benefit poor children. Providing all children with health and dental insurance could significantly reduce barriers to health and dental care for NEPL children."

Nonfinancial-related barriers appeared also to hamper NEPL children's access to care. The survey showed that caregivers in NEPL households were often dissatisfied with physicians and health care providers who did not spend enough time with a child or explain things in an understandable way.

To identify, monitor and eliminate health care disparities, Dr. Flores recommends health care institutions and systems routinely collect data on the primary language spoken at home for all patients. He says improved access to medical interpreters, better cultural competency training and more family-centered health care systems could eliminate barriers to care.

In a previous study, Dr. Flores surveyed hospitals in New Jersey to assess current language services and identify policy recommendations on meeting the needs of patients with limited English proficiency.

He found that most New Jersey hospitals had no full-time interpreters, multilingual hospital signage or translation services. A substantial majority of the hospitals' representatives surveyed stated that third-party reimbursements for interpreter services would benefit their hospitals.

"In Texas alone, 7.3 million families speak languages other than English at home," Dr. Flores said. "It's imperative that our health care system recognizes on a nationwide scale how language is affecting health care for NEPL children."


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Contact: Erin Prather Stafford
erin.pratherstafford@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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