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Virginia Garcia: Access to quality health care continues to be an issue for some marginalized groups

Access to quality health care continues to be an issue for some marginalized groups as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 6:02 AM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Access to quality health care continues to be an issue for some marginalized groups as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Anayeli Franco, quality assurance nurse manager with Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, says these challenges existed before the pandemic started.

“We’re really facing short staffing across many critical roles including nurses, medical assistants even front desks, so getting our patients scheduled and in the door is challenging right now and more so than ever,” said Franco.

Even when people get access to an appointment, another challenge is having a provider or health care provider that speak their language. Virginia Garcia works with many indigenous communities that don’t speak Spanish or English and often struggle to find interpreters who are able to translate those indigenous languages.

Franco says many of Virginia Garcia’s patients must use transit, and with the pandemic, don’t always feel safe.

“It’s challenging simply to know where to go to receive care. What place that will take your insurance, and then the quality of care, we have seen inequities and the quality of care that communities of color access,” Franco said.

Virginia Garcia is working to improve quality and access to care.

“We’re often looking at our same day access. And we hope to have access for our patients within two to three days of our call. So we’re looking to get enough providers, we’re recruiting for providers and nurses so that we can have same day access for patients,” Franco said.

Franco also says that you should keep trying to make an appointment if you need to see a doctor or specialist.

“Keep calling, things are getting better. I know everyone working there deeply cares about the communities we serve. And we’re there for that. We’re doing this very difficult work and sticking with it with all the stress because we know that it makes a difference.”