Condición Critica is an hour-long television special that brings attention to disparities in health status and health care in the Hispanic community compared to the general population and the importance of prevention. The show tells the personal stories of Hispanics who live with disease and chronic health problems; struggle to pay for their medications or medical bills; do not have the luxury of visiting a doctor when they have a pain that might be the sign of something more serious; or have “fallen through the cracks” because, though insured, their out-of-pocket medical costs are too high. The show also highlights some of the people and organizations that are serving those in need as well as the growing trend of travelling overseas for medical care.
The show was hosted by Dr. Elmer Huerta, a renowned specialist in prevention. Other nationally recognized experts in the show include:
• Maria Rosa, National Council of La Raza
• Yanira Cruz, National Hispanic Council on Aging
• Ciro Sumaya, National Hispanic Medical Association
• Eduardo Sanchez, Partnership on Prevention
• Dr. Annette Ramirez, Latinos for National Health Insurance
More than 46 million Hispanics live in the United States; one-quarter live in poverty and one-third are uninsured. Many suffer from chronic health conditions and have limited access to health insurance and preventive care. Thanks to Remote Area Medical, the largest free health clinic in the U.S., thousands of uninsured people in Los Angeles, many of them Hispanic, received medical, dental and eye-exams for the first time in years.
Health disparities in the Hispanic community are alarming: 25 percent have never had a cholesterol check; 70 percent over age 50 have never had a colonoscopy; and more than 50 percent of women have never had a mammogram. Virginia Garcia, a cancer survivor in Denver, who lost her job at the time of diagnosis, tells her inspiring story of how she advocated for herself and found alternative forms of financial assistance for her cancer treatments.
Free and low-cost health community clinics are available nationwide for people who cannot afford coverage. One such clinic is Proyecto Salud in Maryland which has seen its client base grow by the thousands this past decade. International medical travel is an option and trend growing in popularity for many Hispanics due to cost-savings, language and cultural reasons. Dr. Huerta explains the importance of researching the quality of doctors and hospitals before making the decision to receive medical care overseas.