Dedicated to serving the primary care needs of San Antonio’s Southside community, the new, bilingual practice of Jorge Estrada, MD, is accepting patients ages 16 and older with Medicare, Medicaid and most other forms of insurance.
Board-certified in internal medicine, Dr. Estrada has more than 40 years of experience treating patients. A member of the medical staff of Southwest General Hospital, Dr. Estrada provides primary and geriatric care to patients throughout the Southside.
Accessible care remains an urgent need in the region. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported of those Texans age 18 years and older diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or stroke, 18 percent did not have healthcare coverage, 21 percent had not seen a physician because of healthcare costs, and 26 percent had not received any type of primary care in the previous year. Recognizing a community need for quality healthcare in the San Antonio area, the new practice aims to fill a necessary niche.
“Our internal medicine clinic is here and ready to serve patients,” Dr. Estrada says. “I understand the Hispanic and Latino populations’ need for better primary care, which is why we chose to locate our practice here in the Southside community.”
Dr. Estrada and his team’s fluency in Spanish and English further provides a bilingual environment where providers understand and help best meet the needs of Hispanic and Latino patients, who account for 63 percent of the San Antonio population, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Removing the language barrier among patients immediately broadens Dr. Estrada’s abilities to be more effective when diagnosing and treating patients.
“There is a definite need for quality primary care within the Hispanic and Latino communities in San Antonio’s Southside. In opening this practice, I want to utilize my 40 years of experience to better serve this population and provide more access to primary care for patients and their families.”
— Jorge Estrada, MD
A 2008 study published in Ethnicity & Health identified that patients’ greatest complaint was their sense of powerlessness when coping with a health issue and their inability to communicate their symptoms correctly to their medical providers. Study participants valued cultural competence and were able to establish a stronger patient-physician relationship when they received positive engagement, health information and education, compassionate treatment, and the inclusion of family members in medical decisions.
“As a bilingual clinic, it makes it easier for patients to express their medical needs and know that we understand their concerns,” Dr. Estrada says. “Our goal is to provide the best care and create a rapport in which we treat patients as we would treat our own families.”
Primary Care with Purpose
Through the course of Dr. Estrada’s extensive career in private practice, he has seen the specialty of internal medicine progress with testing and screenings to bring about more positive patient outcomes.
Cancer screenings are among the advances that become essentially important for early detection, in particular for patients in this demographic. The CDC ranks cancer as the No. 1 leading cause of death among the Hispanic and Latino populations. The American Cancer Society cites prostate, breast, colorectal, lung and thyroid cancers as the most commonly diagnosed among the Hispanic and Latino people of the U.S.
“New technologies and advanced imaging with CT scans and MRIs provide the right diagnostic tools to determine a condition,” Dr. Estrada says. “We have a broad spectrum of resources available now to determine the correct diagnosis of illness and disease, which is a wonderful advancement in the medical field. Internal medicine covers all aspects of patient care and allows physicians to establish relationships with their patients to ensure they keep up to date with screenings to maintain their best health.”
Treating Chronic Conditions
Dr. Estrada and his staff strive to provide the highest quality primary care, especially with preventive care for chronic diseases.
Heart disease, stroke, diabetes and diseases of the liver, lungs and kidneys all rank among the top 10 leading causes of death for Hispanics and Latinos, according to the CDC.
“Diabetes is a major concern for the Hispanic and Latino populations, but there are many ways to help patients improve their health by modifying their lifestyles and exploring treatment options,” Dr. Estrada says. “Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease and endocrine disorders are conditions that are deeply rooted in the Hispanic and Latino communities that we can more effectively treat with regular primary care.”
In Texas, Hispanic and Latino adults have a high possibility of developing diabetes as they age, according to the Texas Diabetes Council. The risk nearly doubles from 17 percent in Hispanic and Latino adults age 45–64 to 31 percent for those aged 65 and older.
To raise awareness of diabetes and other chronic conditions, Dr. Estrada leads community seminars at Southwest General Hospital on health topics and pertinent risk factors, including tobacco use, obesity and high blood pressure, that affect this patient population.
“We want to provide as much education and information on these conditions as possible,” Dr. Estrada says. “We want to help patients understand that managing their health with primary care can help them avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and improve their quality of life.”
Dr. Estrada’s expertise in geriatric medicine in addition to internal medicine provides the practice more opportunities to render primary care to older patients in this demographic who otherwise might not seek treatment.
Hispanic and Latino patients older than age 65 experience higher poverty rates, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living, which is often a factor in patients’ decision making as to whether or not to pursue medical care. Hispanic or Latino seniors were about a third less likely to have received pneumonia vaccinations in comparison to other ethnic groups. With the growing aging population in the U.S., the Hispanic and Latin senior demographic — people older than age 65 — is projected to be the largest minority by 2019.
The Texas Department of State Health Services’ Cardiovascular Disease in Texas 2012 report indicates one in four adults age 65 or older has been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, with the prevalence of stroke at its highest rate among this group. As Texans age, their rates of high cholesterol increase, making this age demographic much more susceptible to heart attack and stroke.
Additionally, the Alzheimer’s Association indicates Hispanic and Latino patients face higher rates of developing Alzheimer’s disease, due to elevated cardiovascular risk factors, including diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.
Providing needed primary and preventive care measures, such as flu shots and pneumonia vaccines, while monitoring and addressing any health changes, Dr. Estrada and his team aim to be proactive in treating the Southside geriatric population.
“Part of my experience lies in not only being an internist but also a geriatrician,” Dr. Estrada says. “Seeing geriatric patients for regular check-ups to accurately diagnose and treat the chronic conditions of this particular population is crucial and can expedite the referral process to specialists when necessary. We certainly want to be able to provide optimal care to every family member.”
Dr. Estrada and his team strive for cultural proficiency to more effectively treat this Hispanic and Latino patient base with best practices to close the gap in their medical care, reducing ethnic disparities in health outcomes.
“We want to provide a full continuum of care for our patients,” Dr. Estrada says. “Preventive medicine in particular is so crucial in the overall health of this patient population, not only in the Southside but also throughout San Antonio and the state of Texas.”
To reach Dr. Estrada’s practice, call 210-314-3554. For information about Southwest General Hospital, call 210-921-2000 or visit swgeneralhospital.com.