Salud Sin Barreras will focus on eliminating barriers for immigrants to access health insurance in Washington D.C and Prince George’s County
Washington, DC.- In observance of World Diabetes Awareness Day, La Clinica del Pueblo is poised to officially launch its Salud Sin Barreras initiative in effort to provide low-income immigrants in Washington, D.C., and Prince George’s County Maryland, access to health care services despite their type of employment or immigration status, many who are managing complex health conditions such as diabetes. Moving through and out of the COVID pandemic, reliable access to health care is more important than ever and, in both Washington D.C., and Prince George’s County immigrants continue to face multiple barriers to accessing health services.
“The Alliance recertification process makes me feel frustrated. I must take care of my children, attend domestic violence therapies, work, and worry about this process every six months so that I can get ultrasounds and other exams. Even though now I will be able to do it over the phone, it will not solve the problem since it will take hours to have someone to answer, so I will end up going to the office anyway.” Patient, La Clínica del Pueblo
The DC Health Care Alliance, a city-funded health insurance program, allows immigrants with no private health insurance or who do not qualify for Medicaid to enroll. However, Alliance beneficiaries, unlike any other health insurance in our area, must recertify their enrollment every six months in-person, online, or by phone, and in locations that lack bilingual staff or on-site interpreters. These requirements have several consequences:
- Loss of Income: Losing a day of work due to long lines when renewing in-person or waiting by the phone.
- Partial Coverage/Interruptions in Care: Many people go without insurance coverage during the renewal process, thus interrupting their medical care or access to medications.
- Technological Solutions ≠ Increased Health Access: Elderly, those with no educational qualifications, people whose first language is not English, and people with literacy issues or learning disabilities are least likely to engage with digital communication, as seen by more than 7,500 DC residents’ whose coverage has been disrupted already due to insufficient outreach and consultation prior to implementation of new technologies to re-enroll.
Prince George’s County does not offer county public health insurance. In 2019, a Rand Report found that 2 out of 5 Latino immigrants do not have health insurance. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hyattsville, College Park, Langley Park, and Adelphi recorded the most COVID cases and deaths in Maryland where
more than 50% of residents are Latino. Prince George’s County made efforts to increase access to health services to test, treat and prevent COVID. However, the estimated number of ineligible residents for insurance in the county remains at nearly 60,000. Accessible and reliable health insurance is important for all immigrants in the county for:
- Detection and Treatment: Having access to health insurance can prevent or help treat illness, such as diabetes.
- Moral Imperative: Immigrants residing in the county report higher numbers of chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes compared to other ethnic groups. The prevention and management of these conditions require access to qualified physicians.
- Cost Savings: By not guaranteeing access to primary health care, diseases can worsen and cause complications which end up being more costly to treat
Salud Sin Barreras will shine a light on the issues and local level policy that exclude some of the most vulnerable groups regionally, hinder access to care, breach the fundamental right to health care and the actions that can be taken to increase health equity and build communities where all can thrive.
La Clínica del Pueblo is asking individuals, partner organizations, and other institutions to join us to push for immigrant health equity and share your vision of what #SaludSinBarreras means to you. What would it take to achieve Salud sin Barreras and for all people to thrive?
Events: November 17th 5-6pm, Live on FB, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn: La Clinica Talks: If not now, when? ¡Salud Sin Barreras Ya! A Conversation with Dr. Monica Peek, Co-Director Bridging The Gap Reducing Disparities on Diabetes Care.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 16, 2021
Rachel Ugarte |Direct: 202-448-2836 | firstname.lastname@example.org