Keystone First Receives Multicultural Health Care Distinction from the National Committee for Quality Assurance

Multicultural Health Care recognizes organizations that lead the market in providing culturally and linguistically sensitive services, and working to reduce health care disparities

September 13, 2021 - Philadelphia, Pa.

Keystone First, a Blue Cross Medical Assistance (Medicaid) plan and the largest Medicaid plan in southeastern Pennsylvania, announced that it has earned Multicultural Health Care Distinction from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for the sixth time.

Keystone First is one of six AmeriHealth Caritas Medicaid managed care health plans to hold Multicultural Health Care Distinction, which is valid for two years. The health plan offers the following services, among others, to serve the diverse needs of its membership:

  • Online cultural responsiveness training for network providers.
  • Targeted outreach to Spanish-speaking members.
  • Translation services to assist members in the community.
  • Communications to members in their preferred language.

“We have seen firsthand how health care disparities have enabled the COVID-19 virus to disproportionately impact historically underserved communities in southeastern Pennsylvania,” said Meg Grant, director of public affairs and marketing for Keystone First. “To improve health care outcomes for those most in need, we must continue our efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care.”

After assessing options to improve vaccine access for residents of Chester, Pa., a mostly Black urban community just outside of Philadelphia, Keystone First allowed local health officials to use its Wellness and Opportunity Center in Chester as a COVID-19 vaccination site in February, filling a void for a community disproportionally affected by the pandemic. It is just one example how the health plan worked to promote health equity.

NCQA awards Distinction in Multicultural Health Care to organizations that meet or exceed standards in providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS). NCQA evaluates how well an organization complies with standards for:

  • Collecting race/ethnicity and language data.
  • Providing language assistance.
  • Cultural responsiveness.
  • Quality improvement of CLAS.
  • Reduction of health care disparities.

“Earning Multicultural Health Care Distinction shows that an organization is making a breakthrough in providing excellent health care to diverse populations. I congratulate any organization that achieves this level of distinction,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “Eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health care is essential to improving the quality of care overall.”