IMPROVING ACCESS TO CARDIOVASCULAR PREVENTIVE HEALTH CARE FOR THE UNINSURED POLISH POPULATION IN THE GREATER CHICAGO AREA-EXPERIENCE FROM THE POLISH AMERICAN ATHEROSCLEROSIS RISK FACTOR MODIFICATION (POLAARIS) PROJECT
University of Kansas
Preventive Medicine and Public Health
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Background: Healthcare system in United States is faced with a unique challenge of catering to a population that is racially, culturally and linguistically diverse.The Polish community in Chicago is one such. Objective: To improve access to cardiovascular preventive health-care for the uninsured Polish population in Chicago area by analyzing barriers and devising effective and sustainable solutions. Methods: Community collaboration was established. Screening using a non-lab based cardiovascular risk assessment tool identified individuals at high risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes and follow-up provided in a nearby health center. Results: Strong collaboration was established between the health care facility and a community organization named Polish American Association. A total of 125 patients were screened. 63 of them were identified as high risk and not having access to a provider. All these individuals were given appointments for a clinic visit at the Logan square health center, a geographically proximate health clinic. 54% of those screened had 20% risk of a 5 year adverse cardiovascular outcome. 34 of the 68 have been seen in follow-up clinic till date. 56% of them had a new medication prescribed in their first clinic visit while 38% had an investigation ordered. All were provided with a primary care physician while 38% needed follow-up with a cardiologist. Discussion: Health care organizations need to be aware of any linguistically and culturally unique populations being served. Collaboration with established community organizations and reallocation of resources within the health system could be an effective way to cater to the needs of such populations.
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