Bethesda Health Clinic said a majority of their clientele identify as Hispanic, leading them to take initiative in properly serving their Spanish-speaking patients.
TYLER, Texas — When it comes to medical options for the Hispanic community, several East Texas health care systems said they are taking steps to offer affordable services and economic opportunities.
If a migrant living in the United States wants to seek a doctor about something as common as catching the flu they don’t have many options. But thankfully in Tyler, Bethesda Health Clinic said they want to make sure no one is left untreated.
The clinic is located near the heart of downtown Tyler and is a place where hardworking low-income adults who don’t have health insurance can seek medical treatment. Rebecca Olivarez, specialty coordinator at the facility, said the need exists across demographics.
“We want them to be able to come in here, see their provider, get the lab works, and at least come once a year,” Olivarez said. “Or be able to come in every three months to be seen for their diabetes or their heart disease and be affordable.”
Bethesda said approximately half of their clientele identify as Hispanic with some of their patients being only Spanish-speaking adults. Olivarez said she’s made it a priority to make them comfortable seeking help.
“When they come here or they’re around somebody who speaks English they get embarrassed,” Olivarez said. “So I do a lot of translating for my specialists that come here to the clinic, but it really is important to be able to speak both languages.”
Yeneth Renteria is one of those Spanish-speaking patients of the clinic and moved to Tyler from San Luis Potosi, Mexico. She works as a house cleaner and has been booking appointments with Bethesda for 10 years.
“Because sometimes you don’t have the funds and in other places it’s more expensive,” Renteria said. “(Bethesda) gives the opportunity by making it low cost.”
She’s been able to see a chiropractor and dentist on an affordable budget since she does not have health insurance or speak English as her first language.
“It’s easy and they have interpreters in case you don’t speak English,” Renteria said. “They help to translate for you. It’s easy for someone who’s not feeling well to go to this clinic and get attended to. It’s easy to get medication that you need in order for you to feel better.”
Christus Health said they are also making efforts to provide affordable health care to Spanish-speaking patients, and taking an extra step to focus on hiring from economically disadvantaged areas. In a press release from Healthcare Anchor Network, Christus Health announced they are part of a commitment to reach at least 10% of new hires from these areas to create opportunities for them.
“Diversity and inclusion are foundational to our ability to provide care that is equitable for all. We recognize that health and wellness are intrinsically tied to steady employment and stable income,” President and CEO Ernie Sadau said in a statement. “By focusing on increasing opportunities for our historically marginalized populations, we build a diverse workforce that reflects our communities.”
Olivarez is a part of building a diverse workforce at Bethesda after moving to East Texas from Laredo.
“When I moved up here it was a little bit difficult finding a job up here but I had to pay my bills,” Olivarez said. “So I would deliver Mexican foods and that would pay for my bills and everything. After a couple of years I started doing medical again.”
As the Hispanic population continues to increase across the state, here in East Texas there are health providers ready to extend a healing hand — especially one of faith.
“Before, we used to see just up to 20 miles out of Tyler and now we see patients from Oklahoma and the Dallas area,” Olivarez said. “We have a clinic in Lindale also, so they don’t have to go all the way down here. We’ve really grown as far as being offer this opportunity to our patients.”
Bethesda recently announced they are now offering healthcare for children through their new pediatric clinic and taking another step toward affordable health care — especially for mothers.
The clinic also mentioned how they are faith-based and couldn’t operate without the donations and volunteers from multiple congregations, which is a collective effort from several churches like the episcopal church, Green Acres Baptist Church and others.