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Low Income Parent's Reports of Communication Problems with Health Care Providers: Effects of Language and Insurance

Lisa Clemans-Cope and Genevieve Kenney
Public Health Reports (1974-)
Vol. 122, No. 2 (Mar. - Apr., 2007), pp. 206-216
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20057116
Page Count: 11
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Low Income Parent's Reports of Communication Problems with Health Care Providers: Effects of Language and Insurance
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Abstract

Objectives: This study examines how parental reports of communication problems with health providers vary over a wider range of characteristics of low income children than considered in previous studies. Methods: Data were drawn from the 1999 and 2002 National Survey of America's Families. Communication problems, insurance type, socioeconomic characteristics, health factors, and provider type were examined. Data were analyzed using bivariate and multivariate techniques. Results: Bivariate analysis identified that the parents of 24.4% of low income children and 36.4% of publicly covered low income children with a Spanish interview reported poor communication with health providers. Coefficients from regression analysis suggest that, controlling for covariates, foreign-born parents with a Spanish interview were 11.8 percentage points (p<0.01) more likely to report communication problems than U.S.-born parents with an English interview. Among low income publicly covered children with a Spanish interview, regression analysis suggests that parents of children who used clinics or hospital outpatient departments as their usual source of care were 9.5 percentage points (p<0.05) more likely to report communication problems compared with those whose usual source of care was a doctor's or HMO office. Conclusions: Implementing policies to improve communication barriers for low income children, particularly those with foreign-born parents whose native language is not English, may be necessary to reduce health disparities relative to higher income children across a variety of health domains including utilization, satisfaction, and outcomes. Focusing attention on the availability of professional translation services in clinics or hospital outpatient departments may be a cost-effective strategy for reducing communication problems for publicly insured children.

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