One potential way to reduce disparities is to increase the cultural competency of health care. Cultural competency adapts the health care delivery system to meet patient needs based on differences in language, cultural beliefs, health behaviors, and health preferences among members of different racial and ethnic groups. Previous work by the authors identified a conceptual model of how cultural competency strategies might be used by managed care organizations (MCOs) to reduce disparities at different points in the health care process. This paper addresses three questions suggested by the model: 1) How and to what extent do leading MCOs assess their enrollees’ ethnic and cultural needs? 2) Which cultural competency strategies do MCOs adopt and what influences their choice of strategies? 3) How and to what extent do MCOs evaluate the effectiveness of their cultural competency strategies? Phase one of this study, already completed, includes a comprehensive review of the published and unpublished literature, a search of relevant web sites, and meetings with public purchasers, consultants, and other experts on the issue. Phase two consists of semi-structured telephone interviews with MCOs, using interview protocols to insure standardized information collection. Documenting the practices of leading MCOs will assist other health plans attempting to pursue cultural competency. Understanding what motivates these MCOS and identifying the barriers they face (e.g., lack of culturally competent assessment tools, insufficient research on cultural competency’s effectiveness, incompatible standardization of clinical practice, inadequate data systems) can set public officials on the course of providing appropriate encouragement and rectifying deficiencies.
Learning Objectives: This presentation will provide participants with an understanding of what barriers MCOs face in pursuing cultural competency (e.g., lack of culturally competent assessment tools, insufficient research on cultural competency’s effectiveness, incompatible standardization of clinical practice, inadequate data systems). Health organizations in the audience will gain knowledge of the cultural competency practices of leading MCOs, assisting them in developing their own plans to pursue cultural competency. Public officials in the audience will learn what steps can they take to encourage health plans to pursue cultural competency (e.g., law enforcement, regulation, contract requirements, accreditation requirements, investment in research and tool development)
Keywords: Managed Care, Ethnic Minorities
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: Data will be gathered from a sample of managed care organizations serving racially and ethnically diverse individuals who are leaders in developing cultural competency programs
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA