Minnesota has experienced several demographic changes in the past decade, including significant increase in the number of immigrant residents living in both rural and urban areas as well as an increased number of people living without health insurance. These changes present new challenges to the health and social needs of our people.
Cost is a great barrier in accessing health care. This leads to access problems and infrequent use of clinics and services unless absolutely necessary. Many people don't go the doctor until they need to go to the emergency room, which increases expenses to the patient and medical system. With preventative care and early diagnosis, the burden on emergency rooms could be alleviated.
There can be a lack of awareness and limited professional understanding of cultural issues by medical professionals. A good portion of our community is undocumented and there are strong fears that they will be asked for documents and met with hostility. Together, these create a situation that is extremely frustrating to immigrants new to Worthington. But at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Free Clinic, no one is turned away, and each individual is treated with cultural sensitivity and dignity.