Eligible immigrants who start living in the USA often face issues connected with culture. Still, even more, crucial can be those boundaries and limitations that deal with access to healthcare and health insurance because they determine people’s opportunity to receive decent help and be healthy. Two years ago the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was implemented for this population to receive expanded coverage under the Medicaid and Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP). Still, many immigrants continue facing a wide range of problems that prevent them from receiving benefits from ACA (The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, 2011). Different professionals, including nurses, can affect this situation and develop effective solutions.
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Of course, nurses are not able to influence all procedures, for example, reduce the number of documents needed for enrollment. However, a lot of other solutions can be considered. First of all, it is critical to realize that many immigrants do not seek care because they are afraid to be misunderstood, as they cannot explain in English what is wrong with them (Kuv & Jewers, 2013). Thus, nurses can learn several basic phrases in popular languages, such as Spanish, to interact with a patient until the doctor or translator comes. In this way, it would also be beneficial to have a printed version of the explanation of the basic procedure prepared by a translator.
Nurses can work in immigrant communities. Being on their territory, professionals will have an opportunity to interact with them more often and build trust-based relationships. Nurses should pay much attention to the education of the population. They can cooperate with various facilities and appoint meetings, during which professionals will provide vital information and answer questions while another person from the community will translate one’s words.
For two years already The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is working. It was made to improve access to healthcare for vulnerable populations, including low-income eligible immigrants. Currently, it continues to enhance patients’ opportunities under the Medicaid and Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP). Still, a lot of immigrants face a wide range of various challenges that prevent them from being enrolled and from receiving high-quality care. The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (2011) offered several solutions to assist these people. They presuppose the involvement of various professionals and nurses can be one of them.
First of all, nurses should be educated regarding the cultural peculiarities of those nations that are mainly represented by immigrants. Professionals should know which populations would be offended if offered mental health assistance, for example. They should realize that healthcare systems in the USA and other countries differ that is why it is critical to explain the patients the main differences, such as the necessity to visit a particular physician, etc.
Nurses can help immigrants to fill in various documents or at least provide them with an example to streamline the process and reduce the risks of having errors. They can assist with technology use required for insurance programs enrollment, as many immigrants do not know how to use the computer and have no access to the Internet. Nurses can discuss with the immigrants their health conditions and help them to reach the professionals they need.
They can serve as a link between healthcare facilities and volunteer organizations to arrange transportation for those who live far away. In the same manner, they can connect immigrants with those organizations that can assist them in finding a job with health insurance, etc.
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Ku, L., & Jewers, M. (2013). Health care for immigrant families. Web.
The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. (2011). Connecting eligible immigrant families to health coverage and care: Key lessons from outreach and enrollment workers. Web.