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Providing Care to Diverse Populations

Developing Standards

For Cultural & Linguistic Competence

Presenter:

Julia Puebla Fortier, Director, Center for Cross Cultural Health Care, Silver Spring, MD.


The design of culturally competent health care services for diverse populations is attracting more attention from health care providers and those who assess the quality and efficiency of these services. However, up to this point, no comprehensive measures of cultural competency in health care service delivery have been developed by any national body.

This session discussed the potential use of standards in promoting cultural competence and the challenges associated with their development.

Julia Puebla Fortier is the Director of the Center for Cross Cultural Health Care and co-author of the report Cultural and Linguistic Competence Standards and Research Agenda Project, written for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health.

Ms. Fortier said that the purpose for the development of standards for cultural and linguistic competency (CLAS) is to promote a common understanding of these definitions so that appropriate health care services can be designed and implemented.

Another important reason for the development of standards is to offer States one language for drafting consistent and comprehensive laws, regulations, and contracts around these issues, and to promote quality and accountability for health care plans and providers.

These guidelines were developed based on an analytical review of key laws, regulations, contracts, and standards currently in use by Federal and State agencies and other national organizations. Each of the standards is accompanied by commentary that addresses the proposed standard's relationship to existing laws and offers recommendations for implementation and oversight to providers, policymakers, and advocates.

Reference

Fortier JP, Shaw-Taylor Y. Cultural and Linguistic Competence Standards and Research Agenda Project. Resources for Cross Cultural Health Care and the Center for the Advancement of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health. Washington, DC, May 1999.


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