Because they lack any recognized train- ing in health care, curanderos can’t legally charge fees or bill insurance companies for payment. Some work for free, others for fees ranging from $10 to $100. Most keep a low profile, obtaining clients only through word of mouth and only within the Hispanic community. As this suggests, even a folk healer who appears to func- tion completely outside the bounds and control of the Western scientific world can’t avoid its authority altogether. That said, some hospitals and clinics in heavily Hispanic areas now invite cu- randeros to perform ritual healings (or “cleanings”) for their patients. Doing so, they hope, will reduce patients’ stress levels, increase their satisfaction with care, and thus increase the likelihood that they will recommend the hospital to others. As this suggests, curanderos can’t completely escape medical dom- inance, but the pressure on medical institutions to allow curanderos some role in health care will likely increase as the Hispanic population increases.
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