Effect of spoken language on primary care choice refugee health assessment program patients seen at Boston Medical Center
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PURPOSE: There are approximately 21.3 million refugees worldwide. Connection to primary care is essential for these patients because of the potential for long-term and complex care that they require. Primary care and continuity of care also leads to better health outcomes. This study examined what effect primary language had on primary care choice by Refugee Health Assessment Program (RHAP) patients seen at Boston Medical Center (BMC) and whether patients who chose non-BMC primary care eventually returned to BMC. METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was conducted examining RHAP patients’ primary language, and whether those patients continued care at BMC or sought care elsewhere. RESULTS: Significant results were seen among subjects who identified Chinese, Haitian Creole, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese as their primary language. Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese speakers had greater odds of seeking care outside of BMC. Haitian Creole and Somali speakers had greater odds of seeking care at BMC compared to English speakers. 80% of subjects returned to BMC after seeking care elsewhere. CONCLUSIONS: Primary language does effect choice of primary care provider within the refugee population. Providers should use these results to encourage refugee patients less likely to seek care to connect with a primary care provider.