Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Health Care and the Affordable Care Act - A Discussion with Yvonne Nguyen, Master of Health Administration Candidate

Voices of Vietnamese Americans Radio Interviews
Yvonne Nguyen, Master of Health Administration Candidate

Tuesday, October 1st and Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Voice of Vietnamese Americans is very happy to invite all to our discussion with Yvonne Nguyen, a young Vietnamese American who is a Master of Health Administration Candidate from the Virginia Commonwealth University.


Graduated from Springbrook High School (in Silver Spring, MD) in 2010 with an International Baccalaureate diploma and as an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction.

Graduated from McGill University (in Montreal, Canada) this past spring with a Bachelor of Commerce.

Currently at Virginia Commonwealth University studying for a Master’s of Health Administration, with expected graduation in 2016.

At VCU, she is her class’s Student Government Association representative, Director of Programming for her dorm and is involved with the Vietnamese Students Association and Asian American Students Union.

What is Health Administration?

Health administrators manage all sorts of health care organizations, ranging from support services that provide equipment and training to insurance to health care providers such as your doctor's office and hospitals. They are responsible for the organization's strategy, everyday operations, the employees, representing the organization and dealing with other organizations and much more. 

They usually have MHA, MHSA, MPH, MBA or medical degrees and experience in the health care field.

Describe the program at VCU.

3 years, 2 with classes and a 3rd year residency (placed in health care organization) including a management study. Emphasis on guest speakers, facility visits and observations. Also expected to be active outside of classroom, such as class representatives, community service, industry-related organizations and networking. Strong network of classmates, alumni and faculty. 100% job placement and ranked 5th by U.S. News and World Report.

What are your key takeaways from classes thus far?

Health care is complicated. It is not a well-aligned system, but loosely-aligned health care providers, insurers, financers and patients. Specialization in everything from reimbursement to medicine but need to collaborate across disciplines. Communication (including listening), trust, willingness to work together, patience and ethics are important. Costs are astronomical (increase faster than U.S. GDP); government is trying to reduce them and is also reducing spending on Medicaid (for people with low-income) and Medicare (for elderly and disabled people). Cannot rely on government to cover all your health care costs; must be an informed consumer.  Reform includes push towards quality instead of quantity, treating causes over symptoms, population over individual. Although the implementation and reinforcement of reform is being delayed, changes are happening each year and will probably continue since health care is an unpredictable, dynamic field.

What are specific health issues that affect our community?

-A greater percentage of Vietnamese (17.2%) and Korean (12.8%) people assess their own health status as fair or poor, compared to people who are Chinese, Filipino and Japanese (6.1 to 7.4%)

-Incidence of low-birth-weight babies (weight less than 2,500 g) varies greatly, from 4.5% among Chinese to 7% among Filipinos

-Cambodian refugees have extremely high rates of posttraumatic stress disorder, dissociation, depression & anxiety

-Although overall AA/PI smoking rate is lowest among other groups, 92% of Laotians, 71% of Cambodians and 65% of Vietnamese are smokers

-Compared with Whites, Korean-American men have a five-fold incidence of stomach cancer and an eight-fold incidence of liver cancer

-Less breast cancer screening & prenatal care

-AA/PI more likely to be without contact with a health professional within the past 12 months compared to non-Hispanic White children

-Citizenship/nativity status, maternal education attainment, and poverty status were all significant independent risk factors for health care access & utilization

-Ignorance of this bipolar distribution contributes to the myth of a minority population that is both healthy & economically successful

-Essential need for more in-depth, ethnic-specific health research

How does the Affordable Care Act (ACA) affect our community?
(Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders)

                - infographic
-20% of Vietnamese Americans are uninsured
-over 1 in 3 AAPIs are Limited English Proficient
-2 million AAPIs are projected to become insured thanks to ACA
                -121,000 AAs remain covered under their parents’ health plan
-2.7 million (population of Nevada) AAPIs received access to new preventive services including immunizations, mammograms & pap smears, Hepatitis B, diabetes and HIV screenings at no cost

How do you use healthcare.gov?

Great resource for information about the insurance marketplace. Since Virginia’s marketplace will be run by the federal government, this is where you’ll apply. There’s even an option for Vietnamese under resources in other languages on the home page. There are documents explaining insurance as well as a helpline in Vietnamese, so you should take advantage of that.

On the home page, you can take a quick assessment in which you answer questions about basic characteristics such as gender, age and state of residence, whether you have insurance, your income, interest in different aspects of health care, etc. They provide a checklist as well.

Under All Topics, there’s a section for young adults that talks about why you should have health coverage, “catastrophic” health plan, birth control and so on.

Open enrollment starts on October 1st, 2013 and coverage can start as early as January 1st, 2014.

To prepare:

1) Understand how coverage works.
                -premiums, deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, copayments, and coinsurance

2) Know your options.
                -Employer, government, marketplace
-Types of providers include Health Maintenance Organizations-more restricted, Preferred Provider Organizations and High Deductible Health Plan

3) Know your income and budget.

4) Sign up for e-mail or text updates about the marketplace.

5) Get local help with LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov.

Do you have advice about health care?

- Preventive care
- Prepared with questions to ask doctor
- Do your research (e.g. insurance; ratings for doctors, hospitals; costs, etc.)
- f you’re interested in health administration, having a business background and experience in the field is helpful.

 Thank you Yvonne. It has been a pleasure talking to you, learning more about health care and our community, and how we can really make better changes.

Voice of Vietnamese Americans admires young Vietnamese Americans who have a passion to serve our community like Yvonne.  Way to go, Yvonne! 


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