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Panel discusses race, justice, health care   ADVERTISEMENT

Panel discusses race, justice, health care

PENN YAN—More than 20 residents participated in a community discussion at Milly’s Pantry and Pinwheel Market on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 20. The topic of the discussion was “Race, Justice and Access to Healthcare,” and was led by Dr. Henry Thomas, Freeman T. Freeman, Chevanne DeVaney, Edith Mann and Jim Wilson.
One of the most discussed topics during the session was the communication between health care providers and its recipients. Thomas said communication is critical to health care, and a number of countries are making progress in terms of providing institutional ways to provide information to people about what is happening with their health care delivery. He said communication between patients and caregivers is a critically important part of it.
Many members of the group relayed their personal experience at the doctor’s office, saying they had to ask several questions, bring another person and even take notes in order to fully understand what the doctor was telling them. Freeman said doctors often do not like when patients take notes because they do not like to be held liable in front of the insurance companies.
The group also discussed the rights they have within the current health care system. Members discussed their right to keep their own medical records from previous tests to avoid having the same tests done at each doctor’s office. DeVaney also discussed clinics within a community people can attend without having to go to the hospital. She said in Jamaica, many pharmacies were right next to clinics so a doctor could prescription could be filled immediately.
Another included the cultural bias of some groups against the medical community and what can be done by residents to not only inform people of their health problems, but also get them to do something about it.
“I have students who had never been to a dentist,” DeVaney said. “It is not a culture they grew up in, or could not afford it. I have seen women who have never been to an OB/GYN. [...] When you grow up in a culture where you don’t know the questions to ask, it is very difficult for you to get the answer.”
Steve Coffman said these issues are “deeply cultural.” He said if people start by going to spiritual leaders in a certain community and educating them on the benefits of proper healthcare, there is a better chance they can turn around and reach their people. Coffman said they are not going to be able to reach everybody who does not want to come. The group said there is a need in the community to make sure programs beneficial to the health of the community remain in place or people will not be able to get the access they need.
“One of the things a group like this can do is make sure elected officials understand this is a high priority,” DeVaney said. “When budget time comes around these are the things that get cut.”





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