Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Migrant Health Clinics Caught In Crossfire Of Immigration Debate

THE CHILDREN OF MIGRANT WORKERS PLAY MARBLES W...

THE CHILDREN OF MIGRANT WORKERS PLAY MARBLES WHILE THEIR PARENTS WORK IN FIELDS – NARA – 543855 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From a 6 June 2012 article at Kaiser Health

..clinics [which are] part of a 50-year-old federally funded program to treat migrant and seasonal farmworkers, have become the latest flash points in the national immigration debate. Health center officials across the country describe how local, state and national law enforcement authorities have staked out migrant clinics, detained staff members transporting patients to medical appointments and set up roadblocks near their facilities and health fairs as part of immigration crackdowns…

“We are looking at a growing climate of fear where folks really think long and hard about accessing basic services,” says Milton Butterworth, who oversees outreach migrant health services for Blue Ridge Community Health Services in Hendersonville, N.C.

Even many legal workers do not seek care at the health centers because they are fearful of exposing family members who are not legal residents, says Tara Plese, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Association of Community Health Centers. “There is a big fear factor and it’s a big concern from a public health perspective.”

Those concerns include making sure farmworkers’ children are vaccinated, stopping the spread of infectious diseases like AIDS and treating those with chronic problems such as diabetes, officials say. Many farmworkers avoid seeking care except in emergencies.

Federal Aid Opposed

Supporters of the nation’s 156 migrant clinics, which are typically part of community health centers, say caring for all farmworkers helps protect them as well as the public — and is a humane way to treat three million people toiling at the heart of the nation’s food supply. About half of those are illegal immigrants, according to the latest federal survey of agricultural workers conducted in 2009.

“Migrant health centers continue to help ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply by keeping those who harvest it healthy,” …

June 7, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Health Care’s Blind Side: Unmet Social Needs Leading To Worse Health

From the 8 December 2011 article by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation

In new, national survey, three in four physicians wish the health care system would pay for costs associated with connecting patients to services that address their social needs

In a new, national survey, physicians say unmet social needs — like access to nutritious food, transportation assistance and housing assistance — are leading to worse health for all Americans.

As our nation grapples with increasing poverty, joblessness and homelessness, these findings provide new insights into what it takes for Americans to get and stay healthy.

“America’s physicians understand that our health is largely determined by forces outside of the doctor’s office. Housing, employment, income and education are key factors that shape our health, especially for the most vulnerable among us,” said Jane Lowe, team director for the Vulnerable Populations portfolio of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Physicians are sending a clear message: The health care system cannot continue to overlook social needs if we want to improve health in this country.” …

….

If physicians were able to write prescriptions for social needs, they would frequently prescribe fitness programs, nutritious food and transportation assistance. Physicians whose patients are mostly low-income would write prescriptions for pressing needs such as employment assistance, adult education and housing assistance.

              “Social prescribing refers to the process of linking patients with non-medical sources of support within the community, largely through Primary Care. It includes, for example, arts, learning and exercise on referral, bibliotherapy, self-help materials, volunteering and time banks. As these activities are multi- sectoral, social prescribing therefore has the potential to transcend health and social care, the community and voluntary sectors and private sector boundaries, at a time when changes within the NHS and Local Government attempt to draw these sectors more closely together. “

December 18, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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