New Orleans Latinx Residents Face Serious Disparity in Healthcare Access

Photo courtesy of Ilmicrofono Oggiono

A recently-released study of health care access among Mid-City residents and the surrounding neighborhoods has found a wide disparity, particularly for the city’s Latinx residents.

The eight-month community-based participatory research study was conducted by Broad Community Connections to gather data on the health, well-being, needs, and wants of people living near the ReFresh Project. The survey area included parts of Mid-City, Lower Mid-City, Tremé-Lafitte, and Bayou St. John. Focus groups were also conducted with demographic groups to augment the survey’s findings.

The study found that while 94 percent of black survey respondents and 84 percent of white respondents reported having health insurance, only 48 percent of Latinx respondents did. The numbers were similar when it came to knowing where to receive affordable health care. Latinx residents also faced language barriers when it came to seeking care.

Data courtesy of the ReFresh Neighborhood Data Project

Things are even more dire for families with children. While non-Latinx respondents with children almost universally had health insurance coverage for their children, only half of Latinx homes with children under 18 did. In 17 percent of the households, Latinx residents said that no children in the house had health insurance.

Data courtesy of the ReFresh Neighborhood Data Project

Survey respondents were also asked when they went to the doctor. While 86 percent of black respondents said “for check-ups, when I’m sick, for prescriptions, and for emergencies,” only 53 percent of white respondents chose that answer, and only 38 percent of Latinx respondents did. The second-most popular answer for white respondents was “only when I’m sick,” and the second most popular for Latinx respondents was “only in emergencies.”

In focus groups conducted with Latinx residents, many reported that they have had difficulty in finding health care providers who can speak Spanish, and few providers have reliable interpreters available for patient visits.

For black respondents, the majority of whom (42 percent) were covered through Medicaid, the main concern was not access to care, but the quality of care they received. In focus groups, many said they were dissatisfied with the quality of care they were receiving and said that providers often didn’t listen to their concerns. According to researchers, several respondents stated they felt they received second-class care because of their Medicaid insurance.

“While healthcare utilization is not the sole determinant of whether or not a person is healthy, it is very important that everyone has access to quality healthcare that meets their needs, is affordable to them, makes sense to their lifestyle, and with which they feel respected and comfortable,” researchers stated.

Jenn Bentley is a writer and editor originally from Cadiz, Kentucky. Her writing has been featured in publications such as The Examiner, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, and others. When she’s not writing or editing, Jenn spends her time raising money for Extra Life and advocating for autism awareness.

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