Cross Cultural Competency Program
Benefits of Cultural and Linguistic Appropriate Services (CLAS)
The population of the United States is growing and becoming an increasingly culturally diverse nation. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts by the middle of the twenty first century, the average U.S. resident will trace his ancestry to Africa, Asia, The Pacific Islands or the Hispanic or Arab countries.
Our culturally diverse communities will provide an equally diverse workforce. Employers, being sensitive to the physical and cultural needs of their employees, will be looking for a health care organization that can cost effectively address all the needs of its workforce.
Currently at least 14 states, including California, have Medicaid and Medicare contracts with cultural competency requirements. In 1998, 29 of 45 (64%) of the state managed care service agreements included cultural competency requirements. The federal government is a major purchaser of health care services for Medicare/Medicaid and is requiring their contractors to be culturally diverse and deliver culturally competent service and care. The federal government also has initiatives that either implicitly expect or explicitly state requirements for cultural competency. For example:
- The Consumer Bill of Rights
- The Medicare + Choice Regulations
- The HCFA QISMC Guidelines/Standards
- The HHS Office of Civil Rights Guidance on Limited English Proficiency
- The "Proposed" Medicaid Regulations
The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organization (JCAHO), as the premier national accrediting body for hospitals was part of the committee that developed the national Cultural and Linguistic Appropriate Services standards, otherwise known as CLAS. This working relationship with the government will likely lead to additional cultural competency mandates to be integrated within the JCAHO standards that will ultimately impact all health care organizations.