National Hispanic Medical Association Slates Forums Across the Country to Inform Health Leaders on Opportunities Created by the


WASHINGTON, June 30, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) headquartered in Washington D.C. will host one in a series of forums across the country in El Paso, Texas on Friday, July 1, 2011 at the Camino Real Hotel, 101 S. El Paso St. beginning at 6:00 p.m. Joining NHMA will be U.S. Congressman Sylvestre Reyes and Mayra Alvarez, Director of Public Health Policy, Office of Health Care Reform, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The forum "Health Care Reform Implementation" will address the new health care reform law, the most powerful legislation in decades for reducing health insurance costs and improving the health of Americans.  According to Dr. Elena Rios, President of NHMA, "The Affordable Care Act will transform how health care is delivered to our Hispanic communities in ways not seen since Medicare became law to support health care for the elderly and Medicaid for the poor."  She added, "One of the most important changes will be an emphasis on more disease prevention education directed to Latinos on how to transform themselves and their communities to live a healthier lifestyle."

New health care reform programs will include millions of federal monies that will be disbursed as prevention grants for worksite wellness, school clinics, and community health programs such as immunizations, education about diabetes, obesity, especially childhood obesity.  The programs will bring quality health care with cultural competence training and language services to safety net medical practices, hospitals and clinics.  

The Affordable Care Act also provides close to 34 million currently uninsured Americans access to health care coverage.  The law makes health care more available in underserved communities by investing in primary care workforce and community centers.

The Health Care Reform law has already made changes in health insurance.  Families are now able to keep children up to age 26 on their insurance family plan, and children are no longer denied insurance due to pre-existing conditions.  Elderly on Medicare have free preventive care such as annual check-ups and cancer screenings and will have 50% of donut hole medications paid this year for the first time.

Furthermore under the new law, small business owners are now able to get new tax credits if they offer health insurance to their employees.  In a few years, small business will have a new market in the form of health insurance exchanges, with lower insurance rates and simpler application forms. Also, physicians who elect to switch to electronic medical records or who practice in underserved areas will receive bonuses.

According to the NHMA, Latinos are the group to gain most from the Affordable Care Act.  However, with opportunity come immense challenges.  For years, Latinos have been less likely than the average American to get the health care they need.  Latinos are less likely to have a regular doctor, as compared to the general population, and they have less access to health insurance.  National reports and health access indicators show that Hispanics suffer the worst when it comes to health disparities.  50 percent are more likely to suffer from diabetes and obesity as compared to Anglo-Americans, they are twice as likely to suffer from asthma, and they are twice and a half times likely to die of HIV/AIDS.

As a national organization representing Hispanic physicians in the U.S., NHMA's goal through its "Health Care Reform Implementation," is to inform, update, and clarify the opportunities being made available through the new law for physicians, health care professionals, health care organizations, hospitals, and community based agencies.

And, according to NHMA, as more of the Latino community becomes insured there will be more demand for health services.  New jobs will be created in hospitals and medical practices.  There will not only be an increasing demand for doctors, nurses, dentists, and other health professionals to care for the growing Latino population, but new jobs will be generated by new subsidy programs, the use of electronic medical records, billing, and data collection systems in patient care, and there will also be new administrative jobs to follow-up on quality improvement of services and trends including spending, anticipated savings, and public reporting.  Opportunities will be available for new training programs to prepare high school and college students to meet the needs of a growing health industry.

To date, NHMA has hosted "Health Care Reform Implementation" forums in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and Washington, DC. The El Paso Forum was in partnership with The Southwest Association of Hispanic American Physicians, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, University Medical Center and the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission.

The National Hispanic Medical Association is a non profit association in Washington, D.C. with the mission to empower Hispanic physicians to improve the health of Hispanics with their public and private partners. For more information see

SOURCE National Hispanic Medical Association