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Health Care Reform? Help Needed With Health Care for Immigrants

No matter where your ideas may fall on the passage of the new health care legislation, the reality is that there will still be many who will have great difficulty accessing health care. Immigrants, even some legal immigrants, are specifically excluded.

We need your help to continue medical services in our clinics.

The clinics of Casa Juan Diego and Casa Maria, where volunteer doctors help those most in need, will be more important than ever, and we will need the help of our readers to bind up wounds, help diabetics survive without losing their sight or their limbs, prevent strokes and heart attacks among the poor, help asthmatic children and adults breathe better, and treat a variety of other illnesses. Some diabetics, for example, have had uncontrolled diabetes and couldn’t afford medical care. When they arrive at our clinics, our doctors prescribe medi-cations to address their diabetes, but it is often already late and there may be some organ damage, e.g., to the kidneys. Patients come with sore throats, bladder infections, back pain. Sometimes our immigrant workers have had to work where there is poison ivy, and they come to the clinic covered with a rash and sometimes the running sores that can accompany poison ivy.

We are grateful to the Harris County Hospital District for their emergency care and for picking up the pieces and the people who are the most seriously ill. We pray that their services will continue. Terrible tragedies, disasters, will happen if they do not.

Undocumented, immigrants who have ever had a visa, however, are not accepted at the Hospital District. There are few alternatives for them when their care is beyond what our clinics can provide. The Archdiocesan San Jose Clinic (operating on a sliding scale) is an important resource for those who do not qualify for other services.

At the Casa Juan Diego clinics we contract with diagnostic centers for laboratory testing and x-rays, so important for diagnosis and treatment. For those who cannot afford medicine, we help with the medicines.

Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin have left us the legacy of personalism, personally serving the poor, the sick and injured. For this reason, we operate alternative clinics. We invite our readers to participate in this personal approach by contributing.

We need your assistance in purchasing medicines and paying for diagnostic tests for the many who fall outside the parameters of other health care services. If you can help, checks are accepted at P. O. Box 70113, Houston, TX 77270.


Houston Catholic Worker , Vol. XXX, No. 3, May-July 2010.