Federal Program Addresses Disparities In Health Care Among Elderly Hispanics

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Elderly Hispanics

The Hispanic Elders Health Initiative, a federal effort to addresshealth care disparities among Hispanics over age 65, is set to launchin eight communities nationwide, HealthDay/Forbes reports. HHS and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality are co-sponsoring the effort.

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Hispanicscomprise the largest minority group in the U.S., and Hispanics olderthan age 65 are expected to number 15 million by 2050, becoming thefastest 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/Forbesreports. Compared with their non-Hispanic peers, older Hispanics aremore likely to have diabetes, be hospitalized for diabetescomplications 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 healthbenefits, such as the Medicare prescription drug program and low-costpreventive care. Each of the eight communities -- Chicago; Houston; LosAngeles; McAllen, Texas; Miami; New York City; San Antonio, Texas; andSan Diego, Calif. -- will develop and implement a program to address aparticular disparity.

"This pilot project will help thesecommunities enhance the health and well-being of their Hispanic elderlypopulation by encouraging the use of evidence-based information and thenew benefits available under Medicare," AHRQ Director Carolyn Clancysaid in a statement. "Our ultimate goal is to eliminate health caredisparities for Hispanic elders and other vulnerable populations," sheadded (HealthDay/Forbes, 9/11).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser WeeklyHealth Disparities Report,search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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