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Features of public healthcare services provided to migrant patients in the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Region (Greece)


Tsitsakis, Christos A; Karasavvoglou, Anastasios; Tsaridis, Efstathios; Ramantani, Georgia; Florou, Giannoula; Polychronidou, Persefoni; Stamatakis, Stamatios (2017). Features of public healthcare services provided to migrant patients in the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Region (Greece). Health Policy, 121(3):329-337.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The influx of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers into European Union (EU) countries, especially into Greece, in the last 20 years is an issue of growing concern and requires a rational approach. The aim of this study is to chart the use of public health services by the migrants of the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Region, which forms the northeastern border of Greece.
METHODS: We collected data from five of the six public hospitals in the specified region, and we carried out a per clinic cross tabulation analysis of admission diagnosis and citizenship variables in order to establish the frequency at which the various diagnoses emerge per distinct group of migrant and non-migrant patients in each clinic. The main limitation of the study was the lack of age-standardised data. An additional analysis of frequencies per clinic focusing on migrant patients yielded hospitalisation frequencies per country of origin. We also performed a t-test to compare the average length of stay per clinic between the two groups. Finally, we utilised our available data to map the insurance status of migrant patients.
RESULTS: The results have indicated that the hospitalisation rate of migrant patients due to chronic medical conditions is statistically significantly lower compared to non-migrant patients, while the opposite is true when looking at accident-related diagnoses, certain infectious diseases and medical conditions pertaining to depression and alcohol abuse. The comparisons of the average length of stay showed no overall differences between migrants and non-migrants. Only 2.04% of the migrant patients were uninsured.
CONCLUSIONS: One of the key issues raised by the influx of migrants settling in host countries is concerned with health policy. The knowledge afforded by the medical parameters that characterise the provision of healthcare to them and the findings of relevant studies can lead to a more efficient identification of health risk factors and more effective prevention and treatment. This knowledge also constitutes a particularly crucial and useful tool to help authorities shape their healthcare policies and modify national health systems, which are currently based on the size and characteristics of indigenous populations, to take into account the different conditions with regard to both the number of patients treated and the epidemiological characteristics of the migrants. A greater appreciation of the particular current and potential roles of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can help to provide appropriate healthcare services to migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers, especially when these groups are excluded from the public health system.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The influx of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers into European Union (EU) countries, especially into Greece, in the last 20 years is an issue of growing concern and requires a rational approach. The aim of this study is to chart the use of public health services by the migrants of the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Region, which forms the northeastern border of Greece.
METHODS: We collected data from five of the six public hospitals in the specified region, and we carried out a per clinic cross tabulation analysis of admission diagnosis and citizenship variables in order to establish the frequency at which the various diagnoses emerge per distinct group of migrant and non-migrant patients in each clinic. The main limitation of the study was the lack of age-standardised data. An additional analysis of frequencies per clinic focusing on migrant patients yielded hospitalisation frequencies per country of origin. We also performed a t-test to compare the average length of stay per clinic between the two groups. Finally, we utilised our available data to map the insurance status of migrant patients.
RESULTS: The results have indicated that the hospitalisation rate of migrant patients due to chronic medical conditions is statistically significantly lower compared to non-migrant patients, while the opposite is true when looking at accident-related diagnoses, certain infectious diseases and medical conditions pertaining to depression and alcohol abuse. The comparisons of the average length of stay showed no overall differences between migrants and non-migrants. Only 2.04% of the migrant patients were uninsured.
CONCLUSIONS: One of the key issues raised by the influx of migrants settling in host countries is concerned with health policy. The knowledge afforded by the medical parameters that characterise the provision of healthcare to them and the findings of relevant studies can lead to a more efficient identification of health risk factors and more effective prevention and treatment. This knowledge also constitutes a particularly crucial and useful tool to help authorities shape their healthcare policies and modify national health systems, which are currently based on the size and characteristics of indigenous populations, to take into account the different conditions with regard to both the number of patients treated and the epidemiological characteristics of the migrants. A greater appreciation of the particular current and potential roles of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can help to provide appropriate healthcare services to migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers, especially when these groups are excluded from the public health system.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Health Policy
Language:English
Date:March 2017
Deposited On:14 Feb 2018 14:31
Last Modified:19 Aug 2018 14:01
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0168-8510
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthpol.2016.12.006
PubMed ID:28089281

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