FRESNO COUNTY: Hispanics Receive Substandard Mental Health Care
Mental-health patients who speak only Spanish are receiving substandard care in Fresno County, the Fresno Health Consumer Center asserts. The Fresno Bee reports that the center, a health advocacy project of Central California Legal Services, filed complaints with the federal Office for Civil Rights alleging that Spanish-speaking individuals "have difficulty accessing mental-health services" and don't receive help that is "culturally and linguistically appropriate." The consumer group claims that the county is violating consumer rights under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which orders that "no person shall, on the grounds of race, color or national origin, be excluded from participation in or be denied benefits of a program that receives federal funds," such as Medi-Cal. However, Jerry Wengerd, director of adult services, countered that a recent state review showed that Fresno County is providing the "standard of care" required by California. Manuel Romero, project director at the Fresno Health Consumer Center, disagreed: "The county has been saying all along that they're meeting the standard. But in reality, that's not what the consumers are saying." The Fresno Health Consumer Center, the Western Center on Law and Poverty and the civil-rights office will convene Aug. 21 at a cultural and linguistic conference in Fresno to discuss Title VI and issues with health care delivery to non-English speaking patients (Andersen, 8/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.