Pediatric Healthcare Needs and Barriers Self-Reported by a Rural Hispanic Community

Abstract [from journal]

Purpose Hispanic immigrants in rural communities can be a hard-to-reach population with many unmet medical needs that have yet to be properly identified. This is particularly true for rural immigrant children. This study focused on documenting self-reported healthcare barriers among this isolated population to identify methods for reducing health disparities among this vulnerable population. Methods Participants at recurrent mobile health fairs were anonymously surveyed from June 2016 to January 2018. Differences between the US and foreign-born Hispanic participants were investigated in bivariate analyses. Findings We received 35 completed surveys. The majority (79.3%) of participants reported household incomes below the federal poverty line for a family of four. Only 4.5% of foreign-born children were insured, compared with 77% of US-born children (p<0.001). Greater than 85% of foreign-born and 100% of US-born children were fully vaccinated, but half of the participants were seeking preventative care. Most patients identified insurance and cost as the most significant barriers to healthcare. Conclusions Access to insurance was the largest barrier identified by this population, with a significant difference between foreign and US-born children. This gap is further compounded by many responders living below the federal poverty line, limiting their ability to pay for the growing costs of uninsured treatment. This study also indicates this Hispanic community's prioritized desire for access to preventative healthcare and high uptake of childhood immunizations.