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Sept. 7, 2000
Chicago—Illinois' Latino population is facing a health care
crisis that threatens to grow much worse in the near future,
according to the consensus reached today at a symposium sponsored
by the American College of Physicians - American Society of
Internal Medicine, the National Hispanic Medical Association, and
the Commonwealth Fund. The symposium brought together health care
providers, politicians, and business leaders to discuss the current
problems facing uninsured Latinos and suggest solutions.
Latinos make up 26 percent of Chicago's under 65 population, but
they account for 43 percent of the city's uninsured. Between 1997
and 1998, the number of uninsured people in greater-Chicago
increased by 30 percent.
"A lack of insurance puts Latinos at great risk because they do
not receive routine preventive care that often results in greater
complications or worse symptoms from easily treated diseases such
as diabetes, asthma, or hypertension," said Sandra Adamson
Fryhofer, MD, FACP, president of the ACP-ASIM. "For example,
incidences of diabetes-related end-stage renal disease in the
Latino population is up to six times greater than in the non-Latino
The symposium highlighted the fact that 15 percent of Illinois'
population lacks insurance. Yet 8 out of 10 of these people come
from working families.
The symposium identified a number of current barriers to
health care for Latinos including:
Some possible solutions identified by the symposium
"We urge America's political leaders to commit themselves to
undertaking a series of sequential steps that will lead to health
insurance for all Americans," said Dr. Fryhofer. "In these
prosperous times, we must make sure no American suffers or dies
needlessly due to a lack of access to health care."
ACP-ASIM is the nation's largest medical specialty organization
and the second largest physician group. Membership comprises more
than 115,000 internal medicine physicians and medical students.