Federal Program Seeks To Address Disparities in Health Care Among Elderly Hispanics
The Hispanic Elders Health Initiative, a federal effort to address health care disparities among Hispanics over age 65, is set to launch in eight communities nationwide, HealthDay/Forbes reports. HHS and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality are co-sponsoring the effort.
Hispanics comprise the largest minority group in the U.S., and Hispanics older than age 65 are expected to number 15 million by 2050, becoming the fastest growing population in that age group, according to HealthDay/Forbes. Financial, organizational, cultural and language barriers affect Hispanics' access to adequate health care services, HealthDay/Forbes reports. Compared with their non-Hispanic peers, older Hispanics are more likely to have diabetes, be hospitalized for diabetes complications and less likely to receive pneumonia or flu vaccinations, or cancer screenings.
According to HealthDay/Forbes, the program overall aims to increase older Hispanics' access to health benefits, such as the Medicare prescription drug program and low-cost preventive care. Each of the eight communities -- Chicago; Houston; Los Angeles; McAllen, Texas; Miami; New York City; San Antonio, Texas; and San Diego, Calif. -- will develop and implement a program to address a particular disparity.
"This pilot project will help these communities enhance the health and well-being of their Hispanic elderly population by encouraging the use of evidence-based information and the new benefits available under Medicare," AHRQ Director Carolyn Clancy said in a statement. "Our ultimate goal is to eliminate health care disparities for Hispanic elders and other vulnerable populations," she added (HealthDay/Forbes, 9/11).