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Maryland Addressing Lack of Health Care for Hispanics

Nine of 10 Hispanic adults in Prince George's County don't have health insurance. (La Clinica del Pueblo)
Nine of 10 Hispanic adults in Prince George's County don't have health insurance. (La Clinica del Pueblo)
May 17, 2016

HYATTSVILLE, Md. - Maryland's Hispanic community has grown to about 10 percent of the total population, and many don't have health insurance.

A collaborative effort is under way in Maryland to provide health care to those who can't afford it. The focus is on Prince George's County, which has the highest rate of uninsured residents in Maryland.

In the Hispanic community, about 87 percent of adults lack medical insurance.

La Clínica del Pueblo and Doctors Community Hospital have teamed up to offer preventive and specialty care at a new location next to the Prince George's Plaza Metro Station.

Alicia Wilson is executive director at La Clínica. She says the collaboration will lead to healthier people.

"Before, our providers would send someone to a specialist and keep their fingers crossed that they might get a report back," says Wilson. "Or a hospital would discharge someone and keep their fingers crossed that patient could get plugged into a primary-care provider."

Wilson says there's a severe shortage of primary care doctors in Maryland, especially those who speak Spanish and who will serve the uninsured. The new clinic will open in June.

Wilson says Maryland's Hispanic community has increased dramatically in the past 15 years and she expects more collaborations like this across the state.

"The Affordable Care Act has really ushered in a new way of doing business," says Wilson. "And in Maryland in particular there are some opportunities to sort of build a continuum of care and not have hospitals and primary care and specialists all living in different universes."

Wilson says some of the funding for the clinic came from the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission, CareFirst and private foundations.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD