Members of local immigrant community call for better access to health care for undocumented migrants, interpreter services – NBC Connecticut

Members of the local immigrant community are speaking out demanding better access to health care.

About 20 people marched to a rally in downtown Hartford Wednesday morning demanding changes from Connecticut’s health care systems.

The movement is called Make the Road Connecticut, and protesters are taking steps to demand better access to health care for undocumented immigrants and Spanish speakers.

“I have uncles and family members who are undocumented who can’t go to the hospital,” said Sheyla Rivera of Hartford.

They worry that healthcare barriers could put Connecticut Latinos at risk.

“Some members of my family when they go to their appointment don’t have the right person to translate, and those words in medical history we don’t understand,” said Teresa Rosario of Hartford.

With Wednesday’s rally, the group launched a campaign called Access to Health Without Barriers.

The movement’s demands include: better access to health care for the undocumented population; more interpreting services for appointments; pre-settlement financial assistance to those without health insurance; and multicultural sensitivity training for the staff of all clinics and hospitals.

Protesters present their demands to the North Hartford Triple Aim Collaborative. NHTAC brings together partners from the healthcare, government and nonprofit sectors with the goal of improving healthcare services.

NBC Connecticut reached out to the Collaborative and its members for comment.

A spokesman for Hartford HealthCare wrote in a statement: “Improving access to health care for all is something we are focused on – and why we started it neighborhood health a year ago.”

This video provided by Hartford HealthCare highlights this program, in which teams travel to communities in mobile “care vans” and provide free services, medical referrals, immunizations and preventive services to patients.

With their march, Rivera and the other protesters hope to pave new avenues to care for local immigrants.

“We are open to further collaboration,” said Brigith Rivera, organizer of Make the Road Connecticut. “This is not a call, but rather a call. Because at the end of the day, we’re just trying to make sure people are getting the healthcare they need, and doing it in the best manners we can.”

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