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Thousands of Asthma Patients Aren’t Getting Proper Care


Aired 4/19/09


Nearly 90-thousand Californians with asthma have trouble understanding their doctor. A new report from the U-C-L-A Center for Health Policy Research reveals language barriers and a lack of education contribute to the problem. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.


The report is based on a 2005 statewide health survey.


UCLA researcher Susan Babey (BAAH-bee) wrote the study. It shows nearly 25 percent of asthma patients who had trouble understanding their doctor ended up in an emergency room.


Dr. Susan Babey: That number strikes me as very high considering that overall, only about 13 percent of adults with asthma, have gone to the ER for their asthma.


Babey says managing asthma requires a strong partnership between doctor and patient. But she says that's tough if communication is a problem.


A new state law requires healthcare providers to offer translation services if patients can't understand English.


Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.



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