A National Study of Problematic Care Experiences Among Latinos with Diabetes

Expanding health insurance would substantially improve the quality of care for Latinos with diabetes.

Community Health Centers (CHCs) are a health safety net for a substantial proportion of the Latino population; between 2002 and 2007 a federal initiative extended health center services to 6 million people and increased the number of CHCs by 60 percent.

This study examined characteristics of Latinos who use CHCs. In addition, the study investigated problematic care experiences in CHCs and private practices; the authors assessed whether a patient’s insurance status or cultural awareness influenced the quality of care. The authors employed the 2007 Pew Hispanic Center/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Latino Health Survey; in order to assess diabetes self-management and quality of care. The survey asks where patients receive care, gauges patients’ diabetes knowledge and obtains comprehensive sociodemographic information.

Key Findings:

  • Nearly half of all Latinos with diabetes reported a problematic care experience during their last office visit.
  • Latino diabetics who received care primarily from CHCs reported more frequent problematic experiences and rated quality of care lower than Latino diabetics who received care from a private practice physician.
  • Latinos who were less Americanized, used traditional folk healers, and were more spiritual reported more frequent problematic experiences.

There is a drastic disparity in diabetes rates between Latino and White Americans; Latinos often receive inferior treatment. This study compared the experiences of patients at CHCs with experiences at private practices for a nationally representative sample of Latinos with diabetes. Recent initiatives have successfully improved quality of care at CHCs.