Updated: Oct 16
A 44-year-old Hispanic woman with private health insurance wrote TJC to about the racial discrimination that she has experienced while seeking healthcare.
She was laid off in November of 2019. She started looking for a job at the beginning of 2020 but when the pandemic hit, it was almost impossible for her to find a new position. During the ten months that she was unemployed, she had difficulty with medical providers. Because of her age, lack of insurance, and unemployment, she was turned away from the places she went to for medical attention.
She (and others in her community) have been racially discriminated against while receiving healthcare. She shared, “I am Hispanic. My appearance and name make that clear; because of this, I have been questioned multiple times about my legal status. I choose not to disclose it in sympathy for those who lack legal status and because I know that it is not mandatory to disclose that information. When I take this route, the providers limit the options and quality of service. However, if I share about my legal status and ask for better options as a U.S. citizen, the treatment and service is completely different.”
She continued, explaining her difficulties with the lack of bilingual medical providers. “Medical providers have also assumed that I am not educated or that my English is extremely limited. Although English is not my primary language, nor am I a native speaker, I can have an intellectual conversation. Many people in the medical field or people with higher levels of education have called for an interpreter when discussing medical issues with me or responding to my questions. These tools for language interpretation are appreciated, but only when they are necessary. A good clinician will make the content understandable regardless of the language used.”
She wants her politicians to promote education in cultural competence and to hire diverse and bilingual medical providers.