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'Cuban-Style' Health Services Targeting Elderly Hispanics in SoFla

"Cuban-style" health clinics in South Florida that offer social activities along with no-cost health care services to the elderly "could well be a vision of the future of health care in" the U.S., the Miami Herald reports.

Two clinics -- Leon Medical Center in Hialeah and CAC Florida clinic in Westchester -- provide seniors with dental and vision care at no cost, in addition to a regular primary care physician and access to specialists several times a week, but the clinics also provide card games, exercise, and English classes, refreshments, bingo tournaments and other events.

The clinics emphasize a "warm and friendly" atmosphere, Mike Fernandez, a Coral Gables entrepreneur who helped develop the CAC model, said. Steven Ullmann, a health care economist at the University of Miami, said the clinics, which focus primarily on Hispanic patients, are successful because "they're culturally sensitive and ... have a focus on primary care."

Because of the clinics' Cuban origins, they traditionally have focused on Hispanics, but some clinic officials say they have plans to expand them into other areas.

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