159031 Making the business case for culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS) in health care

Monday, November 5, 2007: 2:50 PM

John Spiegel, MPH , Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) Foundation, Washington, DC
Amelia J. Cobb, MPH , George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Washington, DC
The 14 National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health Care, published in 2001 by the federal Office of Minority Health, DHHS, focus on providing accessible, effective health and social services to minority populations of all cultures through culturally competent care, language access services, and organizational supports for cultural competence.

In 2005, The Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) Foundation was granted funding support by the Whitehouse Station, NJ-based Merck Company Foundation, the philanthropic arm of pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., Inc., to identify, synthesize and disseminate information on examples of how culturally and linguistically appropriate services in health care settings can demonstrate positive business outcomes in such areas as improved patient/member/provider satisfaction, improved quality scores, and/or financial savings.

This paper includes background information on the CLAS standards and presents thirteen case studies of CLAS-related projects implemented by diverse health care organizations and designed to create an information base on CLAS business successes. Program directors of the 13 health care organizations used varying methods to assess the business benefits of CLAS implementation. The paper demonstrates how the implementation of CLAS can result in positive business outcomes when senior leadership supports the initiative, there is purposeful and thorough application of methods, and effective partnerships are fostered.

The case studies and paper outline project successes, benefits and challenges to CLAS implementation and identify future opportunities to enhance CLAS initiatives by using approaches to incorporate data collection and measurement, with greater consistency.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the 14 National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS Standards). 2. Define strategies for implementing and providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS) 3. Identify existing resources and develop ideas for potential partnerships with other health care organizations. 4. Develop a plan for applying CLAS Standards in his/her own organization

Keywords: Cultural Competency, Health Care Managed Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.