2013 Volume 14 Issue 2 Pages 108-114
Introduction: Minority ethnic populations have experienced poor health and barriers to accessing care, including Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in the US. Despite some evidence, there is inadequate understanding of the shortcomings of access to care for AAPIs due to substantial variations in health status among AAPI sub-ethnicities. In order to illuminate the access to care issue, we aimed to determine the prevalence of health insurance coverage and health maintenance visits to primary care among one of the major AAPI ethnicities, Japanese in the US city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Methods: Japanese in Pittsburgh registered at an urban primary care clinic where bilingual providers are available were surveyed in terms of health insurance and health maintenance exam. The key results were compared to age- and gender-matched Japanese averages from Japan's national data (Japanese National Health and Nutrition Survey, J-NHANS).
Results: Of 97 identified for inclusion, all responded (Response rate, 100.0%). The majority of respondents (87.5%) had US-based health insurance. Only 38.5% of men and 17.5% of women visited their primary care physicians for annual health maintenance visits within a year (P < .001 compared to J-NHANS). Only 38.6% of the Japanese women in Pittsburgh who had primary care physicians had annual gynecological exams within a year. The prevalence of annual dental exams within a year was 55.0% and 68.4% in men and women, respectively.
Conclusions: Despite the high rate of health insurance coverage, Japanese in Pittsburgh had far less health maintenance visits than expected. Improving access to preventive care may help to reduce unnecessary disease.
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