Health care quality perceptions among foreign-born latinos and the importance of speaking the same language Article

González, HM, Vega, WA, Tarraf, W. (2010). Health care quality perceptions among foreign-born latinos and the importance of speaking the same language . JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN BOARD OF FAMILY MEDICINE, 23(6), 745-752. 10.3122/jabfm.2010.06.090264

cited authors

  • González, HM; Vega, WA; Tarraf, W



  • Objectives: To examine the relationship between patients' English proficiency, patient-provider language concordance, and health care quality among foreign-born Latinos in the United States. Methods: National probability sample data (from the Pew Hispanic Center/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Latino Health Survey) were analyzed from telephone interviews with foreign-born Latino adults (n = 2921; aged 18 years and older). There were 3 main outcomes related to clinical experiences using self-reports of confusion, frustration, and perception of poor quality of care received because of English-speaking ability and accent bias, as well as an overall rating of care quality. Patients' English proficiency and patient-provider language concordance were the chief predictors. Results: Patients' English proficiency was not significantly associated with the 3 clinical experiences measures and marginally so with overall care quality ratings. Language concordance was significantly associated with a lower likelihood of confusion, frustration, and language-related poor quality ratings, and was positively associated with patient-reported overall quality of care. In addition, providers' language concordance attenuated the statistical significance of the effects of patients' English proficiency when both were modeled simultaneously. Conclusion: Patient-provider language concordance plays an important role in communication barriers among foreign-born Latino patients. Our findings indicate that although patients' language proficiency is important to health care quality ratings, what may matter more is when patient and provider speak the same language.

publication date

  • November 1, 2010

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 745

end page

  • 752


  • 23


  • 6