Think Cultural Health News

Advancing Health Equity at Every Point of Contact

August 2012

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CLCCHC Corner

Greetings from the Center for Linguistic and Cultural Competence in Health Care (CLCCHC) at the HHS Office of Minority Health!

The Supreme Court's decision this summer to uphold the Affordable Care Act is an important landmark for health equity and cultural and linguistic competency. The Affordable Care Act helps to ensure that all individuals have access to quality health care. Many minority communities have already benefited from the Affordable Care Act’s efforts to improve access to care, increase preventive services, and remove lifetime dollar limits to care. The Affordable Care Act will also help address health care disparities by supporting improvements in primary care and creating linkages between the traditional realms of health and social services. In addition, it includes several provisions related to culturally and linguistically appropriate services.

Thank you, as always, for committing every day to the goal of advancing health equity at every point of contact.

Sincerely,

Guadalupe Pacheco, MSW
Senior Health Advisor to the Director
Office of Minority Health, Office of the Assistant Secretary
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

U.S. hospitals recognized for progress in advancing health equity

The Institute for Diversity in Health Management and the Human Rights Campaign recently recognized several hospitals nationwide for their contributions to advancing health equity. The American Hospital Association’s Institute for Diversity in Health Management analyzed data from its 2011 Benchmarking Survey, which reported hospitals' advancements in key areas that can promote equitable care, such as the collection of key demographic data, cultural competency training, and the promotion of leadership diversity.

The Institute for Diversity concluded that many U.S. hospitals are working to promote equitable care through these areas. It also identified hospitals that performed well among several criteria that reflect overall diversity promotion and disparities reduction strategy, selecting several hospitals from around the country for its "best in class" and "promising practice" distinctions. Learn more at the Institute for Diversity's website.

In addition, the Human Rights Campaign’s Healthcare Equality Index provides surveys each year for healthcare facilities nationwide to self-assess their performance against criteria for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) patient-centered care. In 2012, 407 facilities were represented in the index. From the survey results, the Health Equality Index designated more than half of these facilities as leaders, meaning the facility met the “Core Four” criteria for equitable and inclusive care, including patient and employee non-discrimination policies and training on LGBT patient-centered care. The 2012 index also provided LGBT health education to senior administrators at facilities around the country. Learn more at the Human Rights Campaign website.

Diverse Workforce & a Strong Economy

It is no secret to those working in the areas of cultural and linguistic competency that the nation and the workforce are becoming increasingly diverse. Recruiting and supporting a diverse workforce are key components to the provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate services, making a diverse workforce an important part of advancing health equity.

In July, the Center for American Progress released a report entitled The Top 10 Economic Facts of Diversity in the Workplace, which captures even more reasons that a diverse workforce is valuable to our nation. According to the Center for American Progress, a diverse workforce is essential to developing a strong economy for these reasons:

  1. A diverse workforce drives economic growth.
  2. A diverse workforce can capture a greater share of the consumer market.
  3. Recruiting from a diverse pool of candidates means a more qualified workforce.
  4. A diverse and inclusive workforce helps business avoid employee turnover costs.
  5. Diversity fosters a more creative and innovative workforce
  6. Businesses need to adapt to our changing nation to be competitive in the economic market.
  7. Diversity is a key aspect of entrepreneurialism.
  8. Diversity in business ownership, particularly among women of color, is key to moving our economy forward.
  9. Diversity in the workplace is necessary to create a competitive economy in a globalized world.
  10. Diversity in the boardroom is needed to leverage a company’s full potential.

For more information on these benefits and how they can help improve the bottom line and strengthen the nation's economy, visit the Center for American Progress website.

The Affordable Care Act: HHS Holds Implementation Forums

Throughout August, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be holding forums around the country to discuss implementation of the Affordable Care Act. These forums will provide the opportunity for states and stakeholders to learn more about the next steps in the implementation process, ask questions about establishing state-level Affordable Insurance Exchanges, and better understand topics related to coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Each forum will run from 9:00am-4:30pm and is open to people throughout the country. We invite you to register for one of the following sessions.

August 14: Washington, DC
Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Great Hall
200 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20201
*Note: This session will be webcast

August 15: Atlanta
600 West Madison Street
Chicago, IL 60661

August 21: Chicago
Social Security Administration, Center Auditorium
Davis Auditorium in Sturm Hall, University of Denver
2000 E. Asbury Ave.
Denver, CO 80208

August 22: Denver
National Archives at Atlanta
5780 Jonesboro Road
Morrow, GA 30260

For more information on the Affordable Care Act and Exchanges, please visit www.healthcare.gov/exchanges. You may submit questions to hhsiea@hhs.gov.

What Are We Up To?

We will soon launch the enhanced National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care with a press conference! We will let you know the details as they are finalized. In addition, we invite you to stop by and see us at the following events:

  • Symposium on Language Access at the Texas Association of Healthcare Interpreters and Translators; September 7-8, 2012; San Antonio, Texas
  • Culture and Linguistic Services Symposium; October 25, 2012; New Haven, Connecticut
  • American Public Health Association Annual Conference; October 27-31, 2012; San Francisco, California

Have an event you'd like to share with the TCH team and other members of the CLCCHC? Submit the event to our Community Calendar.