Background: This study explores to what extent and why Mexican immigrants in the U.S. living far from the border return to Mexico for medical services.
Methods: Structured Spanish-language qualitative interviews were completed with a crosssectional sample of 10 Central Mexican immigrants living in Northern California and with 10 physicians and 25 former immigrants living in Central Mexico.
Results: Sixteen of the 35 current and former immigrants (46%) said they or a close friend or relative had returned to Mexico from the U.S. for health-related reasons. Participants returned to Mexico for care due to unsuccessful treatment in the U.S., the difficulty of accessing care in the U.S. and preference for Mexican care.
Discussion: Obtaining care in Mexico appears to be common. These findings have implications for the maintenance of continuity of care, for Mexico's healthcare system, and for the impact of changing border policies on immigrant health.