BLOOMFIELD, Conn., 31 August, 2016 - Cigna and the Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) recently completed a successful pilot program that offered physicians the opportunity to take a Cultural and Linguistic Competence Health Practitioner Assessment (CLCHPA). As a result of the pilot’s success, the CLCHPA is now available online to all interested health care professionals on the NCCC’s website, clchpa.org, with links from the Cigna Health Care Professional website.
The CLCHPA is designed to enhance the delivery of high quality services for diverse patient populations, and to promote cultural and linguistic competence to reduce health care disparities – which represent inequalities in the provision of health care and access to health care across different racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
“There are few validated measures of cultural and linguistic competence for health care practitioners. The capacity to engage in self-assessment is an essential element of cultural and linguistic competence. The NCCC is pleased to offer this opportunity for self-reflection and growth to help practitioners meet the needs of their diverse patient populations,” said Tawara Goode, director of the NCCC.
Cigna’s Health Equity Council began working with the Georgetown University NCCC last year on a pilot with 450 doctors within the Cigna network who completed the online self-assessment. While more than 80 percent of the doctors who took the assessment were at a highly skilled level of knowledge about cultural competency and health disparities, and the practical application of both, nearly 40 percent scored low on actually promoting the health of culturally and linguistically diverse communities. All doctors received a personalized report of their scores, and a listing of resources for continued professional development. Overwhelmingly, the physicians indicated that the process increased their awareness of the role of linguistic and cultural competence in their practice and among their staff.
“In today’s increasingly diverse world, cultural competency complements the physician’s knowledge by ensuring effective communication,” said Peggy Payne, leader of the Cigna Health Equity Council, which has received the National Business Group on Health’s Award for Innovation in Reducing Health Care Disparities and the U.S. Surgeon General’s Medallion of Honor.
When doctors don’t speak the same language as their patients, or are unfamiliar with their patients’ cultures, poor health outcomes are more likely to occur, Payne explained. Problems may manifest themselves in any number of ways, from patients taking too much medication to not being able to manage a chronic disease like asthma to being hospitalized for a condition that may have been preventable.
Cigna, the first health plan to offer this assessment, has long recognized the importance of cultural competence in delivering health care. In fact, more than 28,000 Cigna employees have completed cultural competency training, and the Cigna Health Equity Council is now piloting cultural competency skills training within its collaborative accountable care network.
Additional cultural competency resources are available on the Cigna Health Care Professional website.
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