HSC320: Health Care Issues in Culturally Diverse Populations Craig Owens
April 24, 2011
Hispanics Heath Care issues in Texas
Few weeks ago, my neighbor a non-English speaking woman of Spaniard decent, approach me and ask if I could help her reading a prescription that she received from a recent visit to the her primary care manager. I agreed and translate the instructions for her. I asked her if she told the doctor that she did not understood English very well. She replied, “He should know that, because I can barely explain my symptoms without my husband being present”. At the time her husband, who is a Soldier, was in training on a distant military installation. I was shocked to hear that in Texas where one third of the population is considered Hispanic, there are still health care professionals who do not understand the diverse population they serve. What specific factors within the Hispanic population must the Texas health care system address in order to meet the needs of its largest minority group which composes 35 percent of the population (Ewing, Reyes III, & Wetherbe, 2008)? It is a harsh reality that cultural diversity management in the Texas health care system is a huge issue. While there are many issues affecting the Hispanic community which Texas health care needs to address, the most common problem is the lack of Hispanic health care access. The rising costs of health insurance together with the rising costs of medical care are impacting many Hispanic families. There is a large number of Hispanic families in Texas, with and without medical insurance, not capable of paying for their medical treatment bills. Our current economy and the projected cuts to government sponsored medical programs nationwide will only worsen this situation. There are several additional factors which compound the issues for Hispanics health care in the state of Texas, to include; population growth, health status, language challenges and health care access to mention a few (Boushey & Wamock). Discussion
An important consideration that must be taken into account by health care providers whenever treating Hispanics is that terms like “Latino” and “Hispanic” are “catch-terms” that tend to lump individuals together without regard to the significant sub-cultural variations that present in the Hispanic inhabitants in Texas. Spanish varies significantly dependent in which country it is spoken. Throughout America and Texas the Hispanic population is very diverse drawing origin from South and Central America, Mexico and several Caribbean countries (Zavaleta, 2000). English is the most spoken language in the world, but Spanish is the official language spoken by most countries in the world.
It is important for the health care professionals in Texas to consider the patients’ origin while treating them. Individual’s sub-cultural origin, whether Tamaulipas, in the northern border of Mexico, or Chiapas on Mexico's southern border with Guatemala, will determine for instance, dialectic and linguistic difference as well as variation in traditions, faith, lifestyle, and therefore will significantly impact an individual's choice for health care (Zavaleta, 2000). Within the Mexican descent population of Texas, dramatic variations exist in their social and economical status which in turn will determine accessibility of health care services. Sub-cultural differences in urban or rural lifestyle, educational level, age and generational status, all have an effect on the attitude presented towards the health care services received (Zavaleta, 2000). These differences along with the increasing trend of Hispanic population in Texas are critical topics that health care systems need to address in order to provide the best care possible. Since 1940 there has been a considerable increasing trend in the Hispanic population within the United States and the most...