Culturally Competent Care

Keystone First Community HealthChoices 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 Participants, 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:

  • An individual’s health, healing, and wellness belief systems.
  • How a patient perceives an illness, disease, and their causes.
  • 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:*

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.

Also, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) developed "Unified Health Communication 100 101: Addressing Health Literacy, Cultural Competency, and Limited English Proficiency." It is a free, online learning experience designed to help health professionals improve their patient-communication skills, increase their awareness and knowledge of factors that affect their communication with patients, and implement patient-centered communication practices. The course has five modules and is estimated to take a total of 5 hours to complete. Visit HRSA for more information and registration instructions.

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.

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

Additional Resources