Statement of Dr. Elena Rios, President and CEO, National Hispanic Medical Association

Sep 02, 2010, 18:08 ET from National Hispanic Medical Association

Hispanic Doctors, Dentists, and Nurses Applaud the Health Care Reform Law for our Patients

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Obama earlier this year, is the most comprehensive health care reform legislation in the U.S. since Medicare, which provides access to care for persons over 65, the blind and dialysis patients, and Medicaid, which does so for the poor, were established in 1965. This month, key provisions of the new law go into effect that will start increasing insurance and thus, access to health care services for 30 million Americans.

The National Hispanic Medical Association, the National Association of Hispanic Nurses and the Hispanic Dental Association, representing over 125,000 doctors, nurses and dentists treating millions of Hispanic patients, support President Obama's Patient Care Act not only for increasing access to care, but because it will provide quality care and prevention services that will reduce costs and support new jobs in the health workforce. This law, over the next decade, will result in a positive paradigm shift in the way health care services are provided to our patients.

For example, the quality of care will be improved as we see the adoption of the new language and cultural competence services as well as electronic health records and data collection efforts in our private offices, community clinics, public hospitals and teaching hospitals.  In addition, increased quality will decrease costs as new guidelines are created, based on value and outcomes of our patients, not on the current system based on how many lab tests or x-rays we order – so we can better care for our patients' diabetes, heart disease and cancer, etc.

Prevention services will be improved in our communities with federal agencies working together for the first time to focus on community transformation programs, school clinics, worksite wellness programs, and healthy homes. New programs targeted at children and adults will reduce the obesity epidemic as asthma-inducing trucks are diverted away from schools, as parks, fresh food markets and gardens and walking and bike paths are built, and health messaging will become more common through multimedia.

Since the Patient Care Act will cover 30 million new insured patients over time, there will be a national focus on building the primary care workforce ---doctors, nurses, dentists who can see the majority of sick patients and then refer them to specialty care as needed. This new workforce will work together in multidiscipline teams with mental health professionals, allied and community health workers to offer more efficient and less costly care.

In summary, the National Hispanic Medical Association, the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, and the Hispanic Dental Association salute President Obama and Congress for the new health care reform law and look forward to treating healthier patients and communities.

The National Hispanic Medical Association is a nonprofit association with the mission to empower Hispanic physician leaders to improve the health of Hispanic populations. See for more information.

SOURCE National Hispanic Medical Association