Culturally Competent Care

As part of our Mission, Keystone First strives to provide health care in a respectful, understandable and effective manner to an increasingly diverse population. As a recipient of federal financed health care dollars our plan and every health care provider in our network must abide by Office of Civil Rights directives from Section 601 of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that states:

No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Why is culturally competent care important?

Health care services that are respectful of and responsive to the health beliefs and practices and cultural and linguistic needs of diverse patient populations are more effective at improving the quality of life of our members, your patients.
For some of this diverse population language is the first barrier to health care. But along with language barriers, the culture of different ethnic groups may influence:

  1. An individual’s health, healing, and wellness belief systems
  2. How a patient perceives an illness, disease, and their causes
  3. The behaviors of patients who are seeking health care and their attitudes toward health care providers

The provider who looks at the world through his or her own limited set of values or experiences can compromise the delivery of services to patients from other cultures.

To help providers take the first step in serving diverse populations, The Office of Minority Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, offers the following accredited continuing education programs:*

  • A Physician's Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care accredited for physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners and pharmacists
  • Culturally Competent Nursing Care: A Cornerstone of Caring accredited for nurses and social workers

Both programs are accredited for continuing education credits and available online at no cost to participants. Visit Think Cultural Health for more information on these programs and more resources to bring cultural competency to your health care practice.

The population of the United States is changing in racial and ethnic communities and linguistic groups. Each group brings its own cultural traits and health profiles, which presents a challenge to the health care industry. The provider and the patient’s individual learned patterns of language and culture must be transcended to achieve equal access and quality health care.

Remember, in order to be compliant with federal law and state contractual requirements, Keystone First and its participating providers have an obligation to provide interpreter services to Limited English Proficiency members and to make reasonable efforts to accommodate members with other sensory impairments.

* Source : OMHRC E*NEWS FLASH! April 10, 2007