Advocates for immigrants and refugees say accessing healthcare can be difficult for them regardless of their immigration status. They could be uninsured or enrolled in high deductible insurance plans. They may also not know where to ask for help.
That’s why the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, a nonprofit based in Dallas, has created an online site and added a hotline number for people looking for affordable medical, dental and mental healthcare.
The healthcare navigator website and hotline have resources available in English, Spanish, French and Arabic. Most of the organization’s clients are from Central and South America, Africa and the Middle East.
People needing help can call (469) 444-7070. Some of the resources available include lists of free and reduced cost clinics, COVID-19 care information and information on how to register and get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“People can go there and click through a questionnaire, asking questions about what they’re looking for and then get a list of places that they can [visit],” said Kali Cohn, the community education and advocacy director for the Human Rights Initiative. “The list includes information about what the eligibility requirements are, how to get there, if we know information about how long the wait is, what languages people might speak there and it’s really intended to help people find what they need.”
The project was designed by clients of the organization, who form the group known as HRI Connect. One of the group’s leaders is Karen De La Cruz, who came to the U.S. from Mexico about a decade ago.
De La Cruz left an abusive husband and says she understands what it’s like to not know where to turn to for help. HRI helped her with her case so she could apply and become a U.S. resident.
“I lived this experience,” De La Cruz said in Spanish. “It took me a long time to see a doctor. I didn’t know if I could see a doctor if I was a U.S. resident and not a U.S. citizen. I also thought it would be too expensive.”
She said it doesn’t matter where someone is from, that a person should be able to find the healthcare they need.