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Book cover: Research in the Sociology of Health Care

Research in the Sociology of Health Care

ISSN: 0275-4959
Series editor(s): Professor Jennie Jacobs Kronenfeld

Subject Area: Health Care Management/Healthcare

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Disparities in health care among Vietnamese New Orleanians and the impacts of Hurricane Katrina


Document Information:
Title:Disparities in health care among Vietnamese New Orleanians and the impacts of Hurricane Katrina
Author(s):Mai P. Do, Paul L. Hutchinson, Kathryn V. Mai, Mark J. VanLandingham
Volume:27 Editor(s): Jennie Jacobsk Ronenfeld ISBN: 978-1-84855-834-2 eISBN: 978-1-84855-835-9
Citation:Mai P. Do, Paul L. Hutchinson, Kathryn V. Mai, Mark J. VanLandingham (2009), Disparities in health care among Vietnamese New Orleanians and the impacts of Hurricane Katrina, in Jennie Jacobsk Ronenfeld (ed.) Social Sources of Disparities in Health and Health Care and Linkages to Policy, Population Concerns and Providers of Care (Research in the Sociology of Health Care, Volume 27), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.301-319
DOI:10.1108/S0275-4959(2009)0000027016 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article type:Chapter Item
Abstract:This chapter examines the use of routine health care and disparities by socioeconomic status among Vietnamese New Orleanians. It also assesses how these differences may have changed as the result of Hurricane Katrina, which struck the Gulf Coast in late summer 2005, devastating the infrastructure of the health care system of New Orleans. Data for this study come from a panel of Vietnamese New Orleanians who were interviewed in 2005, just weeks before the hurricane, and followed up twice near the disaster's anniversary in 2006 and 2007. Findings show a steep declining trend in routine health care after the hurricane, compared to 2005. Marked differences in health care were already apparent in 2005 (before Katrina) between education levels, homeownership, and health insurance coverage. These differences were significantly reduced one year after the hurricane. We argue, however, that the reduction in disparities was not due to improved health care services or improved health care practice. Instead, it was likely due to the influx of free health care services that were provided to meet urgent needs of hurricane survivors while the area's infrastructure was devastated. By 2007, these free health care services were no longer widely available. Routine health visits dropped further and the temporary reduction in disparities disappeared. This chapter also underlines ongoing shortages of essential health care services for Vietnamese New Orleanians. Efforts need to ensure that all members of this community receive the full array of comprehensive and culturally appropriate health care as they continue to rebuild from the Katrina disaster.

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