What is Cultural Competency?
- Cultural Competency is defined by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health as “a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals that enables effective work in crosscultural situations.”
- Culture includes a person’s beliefs, values, customs, thoughts, actions, language, race, ethnicity, religion, and social groups.
Examples of Optimum HealthCare Culturally Competent Services:
- Free language interpreter services for non-English speakers available through our Member
Optimum HealthCare at 1-866-245-5360 TTY 711.
Notes: We have provided your office with a provider manual, quick reference guide, formulary and our laboratory provider draw centers. You will also find here and in your information, ways to reach us.
How can you incorporate Cultural Competency into your practice?
- Allow extra time for patients whose primary languages may not be English.
- Provide signs and educational materials with easy-to-read text written in common languages encountered in your service area.
- Utilize nonverbal methods of communicating (e.g., pictographic symbols) with patients who cannot speak English or whose primary languages may not be English.
- Speak slowly and clearly in terms the patient will understand.
- Learn about and respect patients’ values, beliefs, and lifestyle choices. Explain that this communication helps you diagnose and treat patients’ illnesses or conditions.
- Be aware that direct or prolonged eye contact is considered disrespectful or aggressive in some cultures.
- Be aware that personal space requirements vary by culture.
For more information:
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ National Standards on Culturally and
Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS):
- Office of Minority Health has Continuing Education Resources including the A Family
Physician’s Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care Module:
- Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health
& Human Services website for Culture, Language and Health Literacy: