Standards To Provide “CLAS”
Culturally And Linguistically Appropriate Services
Below follows an informal summary of excerpts from the Office of
Minority Health’s publication entitled “Assuring Cultural
Competence in Health Care: Recommendations for National Standards
and an Outcomes-Focused Research Agenda.”
- Patients/consumers must receive from all staff: effective, understandable, and respectful care that is provided in a manner compatible with their cultural health beliefs and practices of preferred language.
- Strategies should be implemented to recruit, retain, and promote a diverse staff and organizational leadership that are representative of the demographic characteristics of the service area.
- Staff at all levels and across all disciplines should receive ongoing education and training in culturally and linguistically appropriate service delivery.
- Language assistance services must be offered and provided, including bilingual staff and interpreter services, at no cost to each patient/consumer with limited English proficiency at all points of contact, in a timely manner, during all hours of operation.
- Patients/consumers must be provided verbal and written notices about their right to receive language assistance services; these notices must be in their language of preference.
- Language assistance provided to Limited English Proficient (known as “LEP”) patients must be provided by competent interpreters and bilingual staff. Family and friends should not be used for interpretation services.
- Easily understood patient-related materials and signage must be made available/posted in languages of the commonly encountered groups represented in the service area.
- A written strategic plan should be developed, implemented and promoted, outlining clear goals, policies, operational plans, and management accountability/oversight mechanisms to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services.
- Organizational self-assessments must be conducted regarding CLAS-related activities, and cultural and linguistic competence measures should be incorporated into internal audits, performance improvement programs, patient satisfaction assessments, and outcome-based valuations.
- Data on race, ethnicity, and language difference should be collected in patient/consumer health records, integrated into the information management systems and updated periodically.
- Current demographic, cultural, and epidemiological profiles of the communities served should be maintained, as well as needs assessments to accurately plan for and implement services that respond to the cultural and linguistic characteristics of the service area.
- Participatory and collaborative partnerships with communities should be established and a variety of formal and informal mechanisms should be used to facilitate community and patient/consumer involvement in designing and implementing CLAS-related activities.
- Conflict and grievance resolution processes must be culturally and linguistically sensitive, and capable of identifying, preventing and resolving cross-cultural conflicts or complaints by patients/consumers.
- Information should be made public regularly regarding progress and successful innovations in implementing CLAS standards, and inform the public and the impacted communities about the availability of such information.