Racial disparities for access in hospital care
Last updated 3-19-09 at 8:08 a.m.
Northwest Asian Weekly
A recent report, called “Equal Treatment? Seattle Hospitals Put to the Test,” reveals that Seattle hospitals are failing to meet the needs of low-income communities that are of color and limited in English-speaking ability.
This data was produced by the Northwest Federation of Community Organizations. By using a variety of information such as the national data, community surveys, and hospital financial data, the data analyzed how well Seattle hospitals are responding to the needs of the communities they serve. The analysis found that geographic, language, and financial barriers in access to care disproportionately affect people of color compared to their white counterparts.
With the high cost of medical coverage, many low-income patients of color depend on Medicaid or charity care to meet their health care needs. Harborview Medical Center led other hospitals in reaching out to poor communities, with 11.59 percent of spending on Medicaid and charity care patients. Virginia Mason had the lowest amounts of spending on services for low-income communities, with less than 1 percent of its gross revenue going to charity care.
Mystery shopping at Seattle hospitals found that most hospitals were unprepared to address the needs of limited English speakers, and, at times, receptionists hung up the phone on callers rather than identifying interpretation needs.
Amal Abdulrahman shared her story as a child interpreter during her father’s eight-year battle to stay alive. “At the age of 14, I was more of an interpreter for my sick father than his daughter,” said Amal. “I do not want any children to go through what I went through. We should not be asked to interpret complicated and confidential information, or be forced to make difficult decisions for our parents.”
“This report highlights the need for our hospitals and government to implement policies that minimize language barriers to health care,” said Pramila Jayapal, executive director of OneAmerica. “Access to medical attention in a time of need is a basic human right.”
In addition, the report found that communities north and west of downtown Seattle are healthier and have lower mortality rates, in comparison to communities in the south, which have a higher concentration of people of color.
Despite the higher need for medical services, people of color living in the south travel, on average, two and a half miles further (compared to their white counterparts) to reach the nearest hospital.
“Lack of hospitals in low-income communities exacerbates racial disparities and denies low-income people of color the right to a healthy future. Hospitals have a moral and legal obligation to meet the needs of poor communities of color,” said Dorry Elias-Garcia, executive director of the Minority Executive Directors Coalition, a nonprofit organization in Seattle. (end)
For more information, please contact Fatima Morales at email@example.com or visit www.wash-ingtoncan.org.
Hindus praise Seattle Art Museum for promoting Hindu art
Last updated 3-19-09 at 8:10 a.m.
Hindus have applauded Seattle Art Museum (SAM) for creating an interactive Web site that tells the “Stories of Krishna: The Adventures of a Hindu God.”
Rajan Zed, the Hindu statesman, praised SAM in a statement for its promotion of Hindu faith, traditions, culture, and art. He also urged all major museums of the world to organize exhibitions of Hindu art, sculptures, and architecture to make the present and future generations aware of its cultural richness.
Rajan Zed, who is the president of Universal Society of Hinduism, welcomes the increasing interest in Hindu artworks, but he urged the museum officials to display statues of Hindu gods and goddesses with due reverence. He said the community was glad that the museums acquired Hindu sculptures and other artifacts but also wanted the museum officials to be more careful when arranging the displays as Hindus worshipped them. (end)
Nominate a company for the 2009 Minority Business of the Year awards
Last updated 3-19-09 at 8:11 a.m.
The University of Washington’s Business and Economic Development Center (BEDC) is currently accepting nominations for this year’s Minority Business of the Year awards. Anyone may submit a nomination. In fact, businesses may even nominate themselves.
The nomination process is quick and easy: Visit BEDC’s nomination page and provide the required information. Once a business has been nominated, it is also nominated for the Puget Sound Business Journal’s two popular lists: the 25 Fastest Growing Companies and the 50 Largest Minority Owned Companies.
Award winners will be invited to the Minority Business of the Year awards dinner in December 2009 and will be featured in a Puget Sound Business Journal article.
The deadline for nominating a company will be June 30. Nominate by visiting www.foster.washington.edu/centers/bedc. For more information, contact Jesse Robbins at 206-543-3681. (end)
Riverside Chinatown no more?
Last updated 3-19-09 at 8:12 a.m.
The Riverside Chinatown in California is being threatened by the Riverside City Council’s approval to build a medical office building. According to the Save Our Chinatown Committee Web site, the developers are planning to build a three-story, 65,281-square-foot medical office building near the Chinatown.
Historically, Chinese immigrants were moved to the outskirts of cities due to the high degree of racism and discrimination. Now, these areas have become prime real estate for land development. Riverside’s Chinatown is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is listed as City Landmark 19.
A petition was made to challenge the city council’s approval of the project. According to the Save Our Chinatown Committee, “the petition challenges the adequacy of the environmental analysis, including the failure to adopt certain and effective mitigation, improperly deferring mitigation, failing to adopt the environmentally superior alternative, and failure to make adequate findings.”
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Sharon Waters granted a temporary restraining order, which stopped the construction work in the area until March 20. However, a date for the lawsuit is scheduled for June 12. (end)