This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.
PEOPLE WHO live in ZIP code 79905 are among the poorest of the poor in the fourth-most impoverished city in the United States. The population of this Texas community, which butts up against the US-Mexico border in eastern El Paso, consists mostly of native-born Mexican Americans and documented and undocumented Mexican immigrants.
Until the establishment of a community clinic in 1990 run by a Presbyterian ministry called Project Vida (meaning Life), most members of this neighborhood had few options when they became ill. They either ignored their problems, crossed the border for cheaper, more accessible health care offered in Mexico, or turned to the emergency department of Thomason, El Paso County's public hospital.
But as is well known, care provided by emergency departments is not only expensive, it usually is not the best kind of medicine for nonemergency problems. In an attempt to decrease inappropriate use of its emergency department
Skolnick AA. Clinic Explores Novel Approaches to Improving Health in Hispanic Community. JAMA. 1995;273(19):1475-1476. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520430011004