Disparities in Health Care
Does disparity really exist?
A recent New England Journal of Medicine study on quality of health care reports that whites and minorities get similar treatment. This article asserts that regardless of race or ethnicity, American consumers receive mediocre health care (view full article)
This finding is in keeping with other research on disparities. Consider the following adapted from the Commission to End Health Care Disparities 2005 Summary:
African American women are more than twice as likely to die of cervical cancer, as are white women.
In 2000, death rates from stroke were 40 percent higher among African American adults than among white adults.
Although African Americans and Hispanics represented 26 percent of the U.S. population in 2001, they accounted for 66 percent of adult AIDS cases.
In 2001, African Americans and Hispanics over age 65 were less likely than non-Hispanic whites over 65 to report receiving influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations.
Rates of blindness caused by diabetes are half as high for whites as they are for others.
The right care for every person every time.
The importance of knowing how to properly treat patients from various cultures, religions and ethnicities can make the difference in achieving optimal health outcomes. Language barriers, coupled with a lack of understanding of a patient’s ethnic background, religion and traditions, appear to be the main reasons medical errors occur, according to the Office of Management and Budget.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is committed to reducing health care disparities and maintains the Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) initiative. The CLAS initiative supports practitioners in implementing the national CLAS standards by promoting cultural competency training.
NMMRA is pleased to continuing to offer the CLAS Project, an online course in cultural competency, at no cost to New Mexico practitioners. Participants work on provider and practice site system changes related to the CLAS standards and cultural competency, including.
- Eliminating undesired outcomes and improve communication with your patients
- Accessing online training tools, videos, and workbooks on culturally responsive care
- Receivubg assistance in introducing culturally and linguistically appropriate tools to the practice setting, including signage, interpreter services, and patient education materials
- Developing a management plan that treats patients from all cultures as partners
- Improving staff and patient satisfaction
- Earning up to 9 hours of CME or CEU at no cost
Office of Minority Health Training
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health provides an online training course entitled "A Physicians Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care." This training is offered to health care providers at no cost.
The following resources offer information on translation and interpretation services, strategies to improve patient communication, and links to articles detailing the impact of health disparities and a highlight of Hispanic American health. Census data indicate New Mexico’s ethnic distribution will increase in African American, Asian and Hispanic populations. These increases will increase demand for multilingual patient education materials.
CLAS Strategic Planning Tool
NMMRA is pleased to provide this tool to help health care organizations develop a strategic plan to address culturally and linguistically appropriate services. This template can be filled out electronically (MS Word) or printed (PDF) and completed by hand. MS Word PDF
CLAS Standards and Resources
The CLAS Standards and Resources document is a comprehensive listing of all 14 Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Service standards paired with Web-based resources and tools to help implement the standards. Download CLAS Standards and Resources
(The following links provided are intended to be helpful to providers interested in cultural competency and diversity issues. The views at these sites do not necessarily represent those of NMMRA; NMMRA does not evaluate Web sites for content accuracy or application to any specific clinical situation and does not endorse any featured organizations.)
Translation and Interpretation Services
Improved Patient Communication
, specializing in training caregivers to work powerfully and compassionately with patients, offers a selection of whitepapers and articles on cultural competency.
Hispanic American Health
Census Data or Population Change Distribution
Multilingual Patient Education Materials
The Stanford Health Library provides multilingual patient education and materials to help consumers gain greater understanding of health and medical issues.
Hablamos Juntos, a project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and administered by the UCSF Fresno Center for Medical Education & Research, offers tools and resources including signage using universal symbols, interpreter services, non-English materials, and information on Hablamos Juntos demonstrations.
For more information on the CLAS project or cultural competency, contact the Prevention Team.