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Finding Your Way

Hispanics Urged to Talk With Their Doctor

New PSA encourages communication, offers tips

En español | Hispanics are less likely than other ethnic groups to regularly see a doctor or other health professionals.

The data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is startling. About half of adult Hispanics reported that they did not see a doctor in 2008, compared with 29 percent of adults in other ethnic groups.

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Why is there such a gap? One reason is the lack of health insurance. One in three Hispanics — 33 percent — under age 65 did not have health insurance coverage in 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Another is language. Nearly half of Hispanics who are not comfortable speaking English do not have a regular source of health care, compared with two-thirds who are fluent in English, AHRQ found.

Our recent report on disparities in health care also found that, compared with whites, the proportion of Hispanics who said they had poor communication with their health care providers is growing. And the percentage of Hispanics who regularly get important screening tests to check for diabetes or cancer is not improving.

However, Hispanics do seek out information on their care, but research shows that they are more likely to consult other people — even casual acquaintances — instead of a doctor when they have health concerns.

Next: No health insurance? Federal health clinics offer help. >>

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