183985 Culture, Health and the HMO:Bridging cultural and language barriers to improve health – A Health Plan's perspective

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 5:15 PM

Diana M. Carr, MA , Cultural and Linguistics Services, Health Net, Pasadena, CA
Maria J. Ortega, MPH, CHES , Cultural and Linguistic Services, Health Net of Calif, Inc, Fresno, CA
Nancy Wongvipat, MPH , Health Education and Cultural and Linguistics Services, Health Net, Woodland Hills, CA
Michael P. Hickey, MA , Cultural and Linguistics Services, Health Net, Pasadena, CA
There are 311 different languages spoken in the United States, and in California, over 42% of the population over the age of five speaks a language other than English at home. The recent increase in newly immigrant populations, including Hmong resettlement in the Central Valley and the growing indigenous population throughout California who are from Mexico and Central America, has added to these numbers and has created challenges for health care agencies. Some of theses challenges for these recent immigrants include the lack of understanding of public charge, the lack of interpreters in indigenous languages, and lack of understanding the managed care system and how to access it. Providers also find themselves frustrated because there is a cultural disconnect. Many of these newly arrived immigrants into California are so new to the United States, that cultural information has not been circulated to many care givers. Health Net will share their successes and barriers to establishing programs in support of recent arrivals. Participants will learn the critical steps we took in working with diverse groups and organizations, and how it can be replicated for various organizations. An example in California's Central Valley has been Health Net's involvement in the Hmong Refugee Resettlement Project. As a health plan, we understand the importance of partnering with local community based organizations and building community connections to ensure we build a support network to address the different health needs of all newly immigrant populations.

Learning Objectives:
1. Develop a community based approach to address new arrival health care needs. 2. Identify health plan responses to new arrival health care needs.

Keywords: Refugees, Health Care Managed Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently Cultural and Linguistic Services Specialist at Health Net of California and am responsible for the Central Valley region. I have over fourteen years experience working in the health and social service field. My experience includes working with The California Endowment, the largest private, non-profit health foundation in California, where I was involved in the development and funding of programs and strategic initiatives to meet the health needs of California’s diverse populations. I also have experience working on projects at the national level with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in Cincinnati, Ohio. I worked on various research and community-based projects and was also involved in the development of bilingual (Spanish/ English) health and safety education materials to ensure its effectiveness and use for the public. Ms. Ortega holds a Master of Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.