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Community Health Data Base
An Information Service of the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation

Region’s Growing Number of Asian Residents Face Barriers to Health Care
Thursday. July 28, 2005

Axler, Francine
(215) 985-2521

PHILADELPHIA, PA, July 28, 2005 — A recent survey conducted by the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation (PHMC), a nonprofit public health agency that has tracked local health statistics since 1981, showed that Asian adults in the region face significant barriers to medical care that could diagnose potential health problems. PHMC’s 2004 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey, the largest local health survey in the country, found that:
·  19% of Asian adults were uninsured at some point last year, compared to 18.9% of Latino, 12.2% of African American, and 4.9% of white residents;
·  21.8% of Asian adults do not have a regular source of health care, compared to 12.1% of Latino, 12% of African American, and 10.1% of white residents; and
·  27.5% of uninsured Asian adults reported that they did not seek care due to cost in the past year.
In addition to a lack of health insurance and a regular source of care, Asian adults also face cultural and language barriers that may prevent them from accessing medical care and properly communicating with health care professionals. For example:
·  Roughly eight out of ten (82%) of Asian adults interviewed in the survey speak a language other than English at home;
·  57% of Asian adults report there that there are no health care services available in their native language; and
·  43.2% report that there are no healthcare resources and materials available in their native language.
PHMC data also found a sizeable percentage of Asian adults go without critical health screenings. For example:
·  40.8% of Asian men ages 50 and older have never received a prostate exam, compared to 37.7% of Latino, 18.7% of African American, and 17.4% of white men;
·  20.4% of Asian women ages 18 and over have never received a pap smear, compared to 6.1% of Latino, 3.1% of African American, and 4.6% of white women; and
·  20.9% of women ages 18 and older have never received a breast exam, compared to 10.0% of Latino, 5.2% of African American, and 4.8% of white women.

Despite these issues of concern, Asian adults report fewer chronic conditions compared to adults of other races. For example, one out of ten Asian adults in the region (9.7%) report being diagnosed with a chronic condition, compared to approximately one in four white, African American, and Latino adults.
These data come from an over-sample of 719 Asian households in Southeastern Pennsylvania, part of the 2004 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey, which was conducted by PHMC’s Community Health Data Base project in the summer of 2004. The Household Health Survey includes more than 10,000 telephone interviews in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. The Community Health Data Base is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, The William Penn Foundation, The United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and a variety of participating agencies from the health, government, nonprofit, and academic sectors. PHMC is a non-profit, public health organization committed to improving the health of the community through outreach, education, research, planning, technical assistance, and direct services.
For more information on the Community Health Data Base Project, go to