Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 207–217 | Cite as

Health Services Utilization by Low-Income Limited English Proficient Adults

  • Elinor A. Graham
  • Troy A. Jacobs
  • Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett
  • Jane Cover
Original Paper


Objectives We evaluated the health care utilization of limited English proficiency (LEP) compared to English proficient (EP) adults with the same health insurance (Medicaid managed care) and full access to professional medical interpreters. Methods Health care utilization over two years was compared for 567 LEP and 1162 EP adults. Multivariate analysis controlled for age, gender, months enrolled in Medicaid and morbidity. Results LEP compared to EP subjects were enrolled longer and more continuously in Medicaid, were 94% more likely to use primary care and 78% less likely to use the emergency department. Specialty visits and hospitalization did not differ. Conclusions When language barriers are reduced and health insurance coverage is the same, LEP patients show ambulatory health care utilization associated with lower cost and more access to preventive care through establishing a primary care home.


Immigrant Refugee Medicaid Managed care Interpreter Ambulatory care Limited English proficiency 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elinor A. Graham
    • 1
  • Troy A. Jacobs
    • 1
  • Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett
    • 1
  • Jane Cover
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Washington, Harborview Medical CenterSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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