Approach to Cultural Competency
Become a Member
To fulfill its mission of community outreach and to provide bilingual, bicultural, Hispanic user friendly and quality healthcare, Hispanocare coordinates community health fairs where preventive services are offered, such as diabetes, cholesterol checks, Confidential HIV testing, Clinical Breast Exams, Prostate Exams, eye and foot exams are offered free of charge. Hispanocare also offers vaccinations and hosts various symposiums and community seminars, which are free to the public discussing relevant health topics.
Another major component of Hispanocare's community outreach effort is educating the Latino community about their health and means of getting care. Every month Hispanocare hosts a TV show on CAN TV21 with one or two network physicians or community partners as guests. Listeners are invited to call in and have their healthcare questions answered. Other educational efforts include calendars with reminders of health fairs, symposiums, seminars and free screenings throughout the year, as well as a bilingual newsletter to keep members up-to-date on seasonal health concerns such as flu shots and asthma awareness.
In addition, Hispanocare has established La Edad De Oro (The Golden Age) program, which provides discounts to seniors. Members receive a 20-30 % discount on optometry, podiatry, and dental care services on their out-of-pocket expenses when they use a Hispanocare provider. These routine services are important to overall health typically not covered by Medicare.
Hispanocare considers itself a benefactor to the community, not just a provider of healthcare. For example, Latino students entering the health field benefit from sponsored scholarships that range from $1,500 to $5,000 each. To date Hispanocare has awarded an excess of $393,000 to 153 Latino students.
All these efforts to reach community members in need have produced hundreds of calls to the Physician Referral Line, resulting in hundreds of visits. It was estimated that over 2,500 free health screenings were completed at Hispanocare events in 2012. Although Hispanocare targets the Chicago Latino community, all services and educational activities are offered not only to Hispanocare members, but to all residents of Chicago as well. Clearly the Hispanocare member and the Latino community enjoy and appreciate easier access to healthcare in a bilingual and bicultural manner as a result of Hispanocare, Inc.
Hispanocare, formed in 1988 by Illinois Masonic Medical Center, is a not-for-profit PPO network of over 200 bilingual and bicultural providers representing nearly 200 office locations in the city and surrounding suburbs. The goal of Hispanocare is to provide quality, cost effective healthcare to Chicago's Latino Community in a culturally sensitive manner. To ease the financial burden, Hispanocare providers agree to give enrollees a 20% discount on all out-of-pocket expenses. In addition to the discount on physician and hospital fees, members receive discounts on other items traditionally not covered by insurance plans such as, podiatry, eye, dental, home health, rheumatology/arthritis, orthotics/prosthetics, MRI services, prescription drugs hearing aids, and much more.
Hispanocare Providers include a wide range of Generalists and Specialists, which members can access through the Physician Referral Line or the On-Line Provider Directory to get more information or to schedule an appointment.
A 1994 survey of the Chicago metropolitan area revealed that 24% of the Latino respondents had no health insurance, the largest of any racial group. As a result, Latinos often fall through the cracks and receive sporadic healthcare even though regular physician visits for this group is critical. Sixty-five percent of survey respondents had children under 18, and statistics show that many Hispanics suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. In addition to lack of insurance, this minority population must face language barriers as they attempt to access the health care system.
Of respondents residing in Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center's (AIMMC) primary and secondary service areas, the survey revealed 40% were Latino, 35% had no insurance coverage, and 15% primarily spoke Spanish. Although AIMMC satellite treatment centers are located throughout surrounding communities, there are still Latino citizens at risk for going without basic healthcare services. AIMMC's desire to provide basic services to under-served minorities in the community resulted in the creation of Hispanocare.
The Hispanocare Primary Care physician (Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, OB/GYN, and Pediatric) must speak Spanish and other specialists must have Spanish-speaking staff in order to be a Hispanocare provider.
To enroll, members pay a small annual fee (senior 65 years of age and on Medicare $15, individuals $20, family $35). Family memberships cover single dependants living in the home up to age 26. Over the last twenty-three years, Hispanocare membership has grown from 2,000 members to over 42,000, with 30% of this population being those with no insurance at all. Although the program is backed only by Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Hispanocare presently contracts with one other community hospital-Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park - to provide additional services. As membership has expanded, the service area for Hispanocare has spread beyond the city and into the surrounding suburbs.
Approach to Cultural Competency
Hispanocare approaches the issue of cultural competence from a unique perspective which acknowledges its complex, systemic nature. Hispanocare approach places culture within the context of an interwoven network of community relationships--between language and traditions, etc. Consequently, the work of Hispanocare has substantively differed from that of most organizations in the field that tend to deal only with pieces of the puzzle of cultural competence.
As the diversity of the populations that we serve continues to grow, the importance of cultural competency or "cultural and linguistic appropriateness" in the effective delivery of health services is undeniable.
In the late 1980's and early 1990's, Chicago like other cities in the mid-west and west coast, became home to many new immigrants and refugees. To respond to the language needs of these communities in the health care setting that otherwise may have been overlooked; Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center not only developed a medical discount program called Hispanocare, but made the conscious decision to recruit and hire bilingual and bicultural physicians. Hispanocare's community outreach services grew to serve the needs of thousands of limited English speaking community residents by providing free services to thousands encountered every year.
Hispanocare has covered a broad range of services, including discounts on private physician office visits, hospitals (inpatient and outpatient), and emergency room visits. Discounted services also include audiology and hearing aids, dental, diabetic counseling, mental health, and more.
Hispanocare is a 501 C3 Not-for-Profit Organization.
For additional information or sponsor opportunities, please call Hispanocare at 773.296.7157.
Become a Member
To become a member of Hispanocare, print and mail the membership application.