Hispanics, Health Care in the U.S.: Access, Information and Knowledge

The Pew Hispanic Center announced on August 13, 2008 results from a bilingual telephone survey conducted along with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. A nationally representative sample of 4,013 Hispanic adults living in the U.S. was surveyed in July, August and September, 2007. Key findings from the study follow.

Usual Source of Care:

  1. More than one-fourth (25%) of Hispanic/Latino adults in the U.S. did not have a usual provider.
  2. Lack of a usual provider was more likely to occur in Hispanics in the U.S. who are:
    • Men
    • Youth
    • Less educated
    • Those with no health insurance
    • Foreign-born and less-assimilated (Those who mainly speak Spanish and don’t have U.S. citizenship).
  3. However, more than one-half of Hispanics who had no usual source of care were high school graduates, 30% were born in the U.S., and 45% had health insurance.
  4. The primary reason given for not having a usual source of care was not the cost of care, nor issues related to being less assimilated. Instead, 41% of survey respondents gave as the main reason that they are seldom sick.
  5. Among Hispanics who received health care in the past year, 77% rated that care good or excellent. However, of those who had received health care in the past 5 years, almost 1 person in 4 reported that the quality of their care was poor. The main reasons they believed their care was poor were related to:
    Financial limitations 31%
    Race or ethnicity 29%
    The way they spoke English or their accent 23%

Sources of Health Information

This national survey not only explored access to care, but also health information and knowledge, about diabetes. Key findings were:

  • 71% (about 7 in 10) Hispanic adults reported receiving health information from a doctor in the past year, and an equal number reported getting health information from their social networks, such as family, friends, church groups and community groups.
  • 83% of Hispanics (more than 8 out of 10) reported that they get their information from the media, with television being the leading source, followed by radio.
  • Many Hispanics (79%) said they were acting on the media information they receive.

While this study did not assess the accuracy and usefulness of the information received from non-medical sources, the findings show the power and potential of non-provider sources of health information for Hispanics.