Minority and low income communities of Erie County and the surrounding areas have long depended on MHEDS for the provision of much needed primary health care and support services. Low income, geographic and/or linguistic isolation are some of the most serious barriers to access, and MHEDS constantly strives to overcome these obstacles. MHEDS utilizes a community-based, holistic approach designed to the life-style needs of the individual and his native culture. Current ethnic populations served include, but are not limited to, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Russian, Ukrainian, Iraqi, Kurdish, Somalian, Sudanese, Bosnian, and Vietnamese.
Health care needs are met most efficiently when social, cultural, and medical aspects are blended. MHEDS utilizes person-to-person health education, translation/interpretation, and referrals to other medical and social service agencies as critical bridges to access for these under served populations.
Evaluation of individual life-styles and comprehension of cultural backgrounds are essential factors in maintaining an effective system of utilization and a “seamless continuum of health care delivery.” MHEDS’ staff are able to understand and penetrate these barriers because they are indigenous to these populations themselves, and know that there are alternate pathways to care available.
Delivery of health care services is most effectively rendered when health education and information on the need for and availability of preventive health care services such as immunizations, prenatal care, nutrition, yearly physicals, etc… and how to access these services is provided to these under-utilizers. Proper preventative health care can reduce the need for crisis medical services which are both uncomfortable for the patient as well as costly for the community.
System services and affiliations are extensive, and MHEDS strives to improve utilization by overcoming the low income, geographic and/or linguistic isolation barriers faced by these under-served populations. MHEDS staff provides a comprehensive approach to accessing health and social services by bridging these gaps via (1) education, (2) preventative care, (3) transportation (4) translation/interpretation, (5) referral and follow-ups to other appropriate agencies as needed.