IMMIGRANT HEALTH: Orange County Reaches Out To Vietnamese
Two clinics in Orange County are collaborating to launch a new outreach program "aimed at educating Vietnamese people and those who care for them." The Orange County Register reports that the county Health Care Agency is working to bring patients and doctors "up to speed" with the program, which is administered by the new Asian Health Center. "We have the largest Vietnamese community here outside of Vietnam," said Mylinh Pham of AHC. "Many new arrivals don't know how to get access to care. ... Sometimes they feel isolated -- they isolate themselves because they don't know who to call or where to go," she said. According to the Register, about 116,000 Vietnamese live in Orange County, and many are unaware of the options offered by Western medicine (8/27).
Overcoming Cultural Barriers
The Health Care Agency is helping to get the word out -- through talk shows and announcements on radio stations -- about health care services that AHC offers. Patients pay for services on a sliding-scale basis -- some patients are charged $5 for services, while those unable to pay are not charged at all. AHC also serves Medi-Cal recipients and has five employees certified to help families apply for Healthy Families. As part of its "Project Harmony" program, AHC will inform Vietnamese residents about issues such as managed care, and health care quality and access. AHC will also be offering classes to educate health care providers on Vietnamese culture (CHL interview, 8/27). "I believe that a health care provider needs to know as much about an individual's culture as they can," said Dr. Hugh Stallworth, director of public health for the county. "A patient's beliefs, traditions and attitudes toward health in general and specific diseases is very important when you are treating that person" (Register, 8/27). Click Vietnamese to read about other health care efforts to reach this population.