HEALTHY FAMILIES: Eligible Immigrants Kept Away By INS
Only a fraction of eligible families have signed their children up for the state's Healthy Families program, with many undocumented immigrant parents fearful that enrolling their U.S.-born children will hurt their chances for citizenship. The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reports that the Immigration and Naturalization Service "is at odds" with the new health insurance program because the INS does not "rule favorably on immigration cases where undocumented immigrants receive government benefits." Angie Medina, director of Los Angeles County's Children Health Outreach Initiative, said, "Unfortunately, we can't tell parents that signing up their children, who were born here and are eligible, will not jeopardize their rights to gain citizenship or legal residency." She called the issue "significant, the biggest problem we have."
Medina also listed the "complex, 28-page application" and an inadequate staff as additional factors in Healthy Families only enrolling 1,500 children of the estimated 250,000 who are eligible. The Daily Bulletin reports that Los Angeles County enrolled only 70 children since July 1, despite the $585 million that was earmarked for the county. The Daily Bulletin reports that neither the INS nor the Department of Health Services were available for comment (Rogers, 7/26). Click here for past California Healthline coverage of immigrants and the Healthy Families program.
More Latino Outreach
The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that the San Francisco-area Latino Health Promoter Program is heightening efforts to "spread the word" about recruiting the 30% of area residents who have no health insurance. The program, run by Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, provides "doctor referrals, blood pressure tests, gynecological advice, [and] information about diseases" at little or no cost. Administrators "hope to reach segments of the Latino community not affiliated with a specific church or organization" (Schultz, 7/25).