Having Our Say, the coalition of groups representing communities of color in this health reform debate, put out a new report today (now on the CPEHN website), entitled Health Care Reform Proposals Hold Promise for Diverse Communities: Getting California Ready.
Maybe because the health care crisis is felt across all of California’s diverse communities–and disproportionately in communities of color–the benefits of reform would be broadly felt.
But “getting California ready” is an appropriate message: health care reform needs to include, or closely followed by, efforts to make sure that the state’s health care system can appropriately welcome and care for the full diversity of the newly insured.
Case in point: Bruce Occena, who runs Health Access’ Video Medical Interpretation (VMI) project in San Francisco and Alameda counties, reports that San Francisco is beefing up its language access capabilities in its clinics as part of their health care expansion. It’s simply viewed as an essential part of its Healthy San Francisco project, which is starting in Chinatown, and predictably, getting many new enrollees who need interpretation services. This is a benefit to all who use those clinics, not just the newly covered, but its the kind of additional thinking that should be part of the health reform debate, and that this report highlights.