Many factors have contributed to the current scene of healthcare in the US-Mexico border. While this area was hardly ever given full attention, the current situation is steadily declining due to the enormous economical and population expansion that has taken place thanks of NAFTA.(Parchman, 2002) Most of this has taken place with out considerable planning.
It is the result of this that the current health care system along this border is very disappointing in many respects. Other factors also contribute to the ever-increasing problem.This includes poverty and lack of insurance among the population, the increased difficulty of communication due to lack of bilingual health care providers and health care systems that have neglected the fundamental importance of culture that is so crucial in any area or locality.The overlapping issues of both the countries in the provision of healthcare facilities, and the factors in turn that affect both countries increase the problem many fold. (Prachman, 2002)The problems of Mexican and US populations can be summarized as limitations in healthcare access, limited oral healthcare access, problems in the access to prescription drugs, the problems of underinsurance, and uncompensated care. (HSRA, 2002)The costs are extremely high in these areas in the case of healthcare provision. In 2000, undocumented immigrants cost about $200 million in the provision of healthcare, which was highest in the state of California, which was $79 million, followed by $ 74 million in Texas.With the increased numbers of undocumented immigrants estimated to be 1.
5 million, the costs are going to increase considerably. (MFS, 2007)The findings lead to many conclusions. Firstly, undocumented immigrants are consuming a large portion of costs of healthcare services. Secondly, there is no proper method; where by such costs can be estimated to exact degree.The deprivation and the feeling of being misunderstood have led to many changes among such populations regarding health care provision. For example, researchers think that problems of communication are the main reason why people seek out providers that understand their culture, background and their own language.It is no surprise that such people then prefer providers that are of “their kind” or who understand their needs better than other health care providers.
Such populations are now increasingly seeking prescriptions from their own population groups and are also seeking medical care from specialty areas within Mexico. (Parchman, 2002)This is perhaps the crux of the issue of healthcare problems along this border, which need to be eliminated if a proper healthcare system is to ensue. Many efforts are underway, but to what extent is they going to cross the bridges are still a matter remained to be seen.The above mentioned issues are increasing burdens not only on the population itself, but also on the health care providers. Lack of investment is another main issue that is causing problems in the healthcare sector. This is further complicated by the increase in the cutbacks for the Medicaid and CHIP programs. This cutback is especially hampering the Border Counties and rural communities.
(CHC forum, 2002)Many efforts have been placed to address the issues of the US-Mexico border. The Ryan White CARE act is among those few acts that are aimed to address the lack of healthcare resources and provisions in this area. Administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration, HRSA and HIV/AIDS bureau, the HAB, the program is especially targeted for HIV and AIDS afflicted populations of the region.This program has been in service from 1996, and has been active to avail the services of both the public and private healthcare sectors. (Aguilar, 2001) This program is providing many care services to the HIV patients, and is actively working towards promoting the Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) Border Health Initiative.The current programs in the offering include the primary healthcare provision at the Community and Migrant Healthcare Centers, maternal and child care services, HIV/AIDS programs, and programs for hiring and training new healthcare professionals and providers. (Aguilar, 2001)Along with these are bold efforts for the provision of dental health care as well. Where dental reimbursement and community based programs are also being introduced and instituted for such areas.
(AETC, 2007)Currently the division of healthcare centers is as follows. 12 in Texas, eight in Arizona, four in California, and three in New Mexico. In most of these healthcare centers the staff employed belongs to the locality, and therefore, is Hispanic in origin. This makes the healthcare delivery system a role model for the economical survival of such populations, making it an economical development as well. (Aguilar, 2001)The Center for Disease Control and prevention or CDC, is another area where healthcare services are provided. This program is however, only related to the diabetic population that is growing at both ends of the border at an alarming speed.The SAMSHA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is currently working in the area of substance abuse, abuse prevention and mental healthcare services, which are extremely difficult for different cultural groups to access.
Five groups are currently availing this option, which include the Latin women in the US Mexico border area, Native American female adolescents, Asian American women, Vietnamese survivers of reeducation camps and Latina female adolescents. More programs are aimed to be introduced, all the while aiming to provide a healthcare system that is sensitive to the needs of such culturally diverse and sensitive groups. (Aguilar, 2001)For preventing antimicrobial resistance that is continuing around the world, there has been instituted another program, named as the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System or NARMS. This is currently actively participating in the provision of drug treatments that are effective and focusing of ways to prevent further cases of bacterial resistance from developing. (Aguilar, 2001)