Research Activities March 2013, No. 391
Hispanics settling in "new" destinations are more likely to have unmet health needs than those settling in traditional areas
U.S.-born Hispanics settling in "new" metropolitan locales (such as metro areas in Nevada, Georgia, and North Carolina) are more likely to have unmet needs for medical care and be dissatisfied with their care than those living in metro areas that have traditionally been home to the majority of U.S. Hispanics (such as metro areas in Texas, California, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia). That’s the finding of a new study that focused on U.S-born Mexican–Americans and Mexican immigrants.
The researchers examined data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Household Component on a sample of 15,783 working age U.S.-born Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants living in metropolitan areas. They found that in U.S. metropolitan areas overall, 65 percent of U.S.-born Mexican-Americans and 48 percent of Mexican immigrants had a usual source of care. The U.S.-born group was more likely to have an office-based visit, an emergency department visit, or any medical care expense than the immigrants. The U.S.-born group was also more likely to be highly satisfied with their usual source of care—and more likely to be highly satisfied with any care than were the immigrants. Immigrant Mexicans in new destinations were significantly more likely than those in traditional destinations to have an inpatient discharge, an ED visit, and any medical expenditures—suggesting poorer access to ambulatory care. U.S.-born Mexican Americans living in new destinations for Hispanics were significantly more likely to have unmet needs for medical care or prescription drugs, and to be dissatisfied with their care over the past 12 months.
This may have been due to fewer Hispanic, Spanish-speaking, or other culturally competent providers in the new destinations than traditionally Hispanic destinations, suggest the researchers. Controlling for characteristics of the local area, the researchers found fewer significant differences for Mexican immigrants between new and traditional destinations, but most of the differences for U.S.-born Mexican-Americans remained. The study was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS17567).
More details are in "Health care experiences of Hispanics in new and traditional U.S. destinations," by Carole Roan Gresenz, Ph.D., Kathryn Pitkin Derose, Ph.D., M.P.H., Teague Ruder, M.A., and others in the December 2012 Medical Care Research and Review 69(6), pp. 663-678.