Medical utilization patterns of Hispanic migrant farmworkers in Wisconsin
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Medical utilization patterns of Hispanic migrant farmworkers in Wisconsin

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      Public Health Rep
    • Description:
      In a survey conducted in 1978 of a 10 percent stratified random sample of Wisconsin migrant agricultural workers, the self-perceived health status and the medical utilization patterns of the Hispanic workers in the sample (92 percent of the total group) were examined.Based on prior research with national populations, it was hypothesized that older, female, better educated, and English-speaking workers would have higher utilization levels. Utilization was measured by four variables: a physician or clinic visit in the preceding year and ever having had a general physical examination, a dental visit, or a vision checkup.The survey results, based on unverified self-reported data, indicated that in general the use by migrant workers of health services, especially preventive care, was low compared with other populations. Some of the hypotheses that were tested were confirmed by the survey data: older workers were more likely to have visited a physician in the preceding year and to have had a routine physical examination; women were more likely to have seen a physician in the preceding year and to have had a dental visit; workers who spoke English as well as Spanish (usually the younger workers) were more likely to have been to a dentist and to have had a vision checkup. Educational attainment was not related to any of the utilization measures.Besides the demographic factors related to medical utilization, the survey revealed barriers to care related to time, distance, language, and money. Access to a migrant health clinic and the availability of Medicaid were related to dentist visits and vision checkups. Thirty-eight percent of the migrants had used migrant health clinics; only 14 percent had used Medicaid to pay medical bills; about one in five had no means of payment except his or her own funds.
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