Orange County Group to Promote ‘Legitimate’ Care for Immigrants
After receiving its not-for-profit status last month, the Orange County Safe Healthcare Coalition now plans to step up a campaign to encourage the county's immigrants to use "legitimate doctors instead of backdoor clinics," the Los Angeles Times reports. The group formed after three deaths in the last three years of individuals who received "fraudulent medical care and took prescription medicines illegally." The coalition has advised the Orange County Health Care Agency's Safe Healthcare Project since 1999. With not-for-profit status, the group will be able to seek state and federal funding. As part of the stepped-up campaign, the group will try to make doctors aware of "cultural differences in medicine." Rocio Nunez-Magdaleno, the group's vice chair, said that doctors' lack of knowledge about the use of cultural remedies, including certain teas, to aid common health problems might cause some immigrant patients to seek care elsewhere. She added, "We want doctors to know what our people think. There is a barrier. This is a folk medicine tradition and it may not be inappropriate." In addition, the group's campaign also will attempt to reach patients, teaching them how to treat "simple problems at home" before they seek out alternative healers and doctors. Joe Vargas, program supervisor for the Safe Healthcare Project, said that he "welcomes" the expanded role of the Orange County Safe Healthcare Coalition. His own project has provided health education to care providers and community groups, as well as a Spanish-language advertising campaign in bus shelters (Mena, Los Angeles Times, 1/2).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.