Abstract: Access to Health Services Among US Immigrant Children and Families (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

86P Access to Health Services Among US Immigrant Children and Families

Thursday, January 12, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Mary C. Ortiz, BA, Graduate Social Work Student, California State University, Sacramento
Jessica S. Lau, BS, Graduate Social Work Student, California State University, Sacramento
Sarah C. Reed, PhD, MSW, MPH, Assistant Professor, California State University, Sacramento, CA
Background and Purpose: In 2019, there were approximately 45 million immigrants in the United States, with 17.8 million children living in a household with at least one immigrant parent (Bolter, 2020). Despite the growing number of immigrants in the United States, immigrants struggle to access health care services due to concerns with insurance eligibility, transportation, language, socioeconomic status, immigration policies, limited health literacy, and acculturation challenges. This study describes the sociodemographic and health characteristics of immigrant families and examines the association between immigration status and access to health services.

Methods: We used data from the cross-sectional 2018 National Survey of Children's Health (NCHS), a nationally representative survey of 30,530 children in the United States. Our independent variable, immigration status was defined as having at least one parent or a child born outside of the United States. We used multivariate logistic regression to evaluate the odds of access to health services defined as having a primary care provider, routine medical check-ups, and a regular medical location for healthcare needs.

Results: We found that immigrant families are less likely to have access to health services compared to nonimmigrant families, including accessing routine medical check-ups (OR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.76- 0.91) and having a regular medical location for healthcare needs (OR = 0.75, 95% CI = 0.69-0.82). Other significant predictors of poor health care access were being Black or of other race compared to white; having a primary language spoken other than English compared to English speaking households; parents with less than high school, high school, and some college or associate degree compared to a college degree; family structures with two parents not married, single mother or other family structures compared to two parents who were currently married.

Conclusion and Implications: Findings from this large population-based survey suggest immigrant families’ access to healthcare is limited. At the same time, other factors, including social determinants of health (SDOH), such as race and ethnicity, language spoken at home, family structure, and education level are strongly associated with access to health services. Social workers should consider targeted advocacy and interventions that center SDOH and immigrant families to increase resources and services for the most vulnerable populations.