Minnesota Health Clinic Offering Primary Care to Hispanic Patients Hailed
Centro de Salud, a Minneapolis medical clinic that offers primary care to Hispanic patients -- without "intimidating" them like "regular" American clinics -- has garnered praise from health care providers and leaders in the Hispanic community, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. "I think that the Latino community has been the most underserved community in Minneapolis, and many go untreated ... or have minor problems that end up being complicated because they don't get care at a clinic," Centro Director Angeles Juarez said, adding, "This is an attempt to fill the gap and provide services to an underserved community." To help put patients "at ease," Centro has assembled a six-member, bilingual staff -- including nurse practitioners and two part-time volunteer doctors -- familiar with the "health challenges" facing recent immigrants. "I know what's like to be someplace (unfamiliar) and get sick. It's scary," Mary Ehresman, a full-time nurse practitioner at Centro, said. The clinic's location in the Hispanic community center, which also serves as a "destination" for social services and cultural activities, also helps to accomodate Hispanic patients. "We're really bringing the services to the patient. Instead of making them come to us, we're coming to them," Julie Andberg, vice president of clinical programs for Planned Parenthood, which will provide about $250,000 over the next few years to help staff the clinic, said. In addition, Children's Hospitals and Clinics, the Community-University Partnership in Education and Service, Hennepin Faculty Associates, the Minneapolis Foundation and the Otto Bremer Foundation help support Centro, cementing the clinic's financial future over the next few years -- even if many patients cannot afford to pay for services. "What we are hearing from experts is that this concept is the future [for similar clinics]," Tyrone Guzman, executive director of the Hispanic community center, said. According to Guzman, the clinic requests a $20 co-payment from patients lacking health insurance, but "no one is turned away." State officials predict that the Hispanic community will continue to grow rapidly over the next 20 years (Burcum, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 11/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.