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Culturally and linguistically appropriate services are respectful of and responsive to the health beliefs, practices and needs of diverse patients.
The percentage of Americans who are racial and ethnic minorities and who speak a primary language other than English continues grow rapidly. Organizations are looking to meet the challenges of serving diverse communities and provide high quality services and care.
By tailoring services to an individual's culture and language preference, health professionals can help bring about positive health outcomes for diverse populations.
The provider and the patient each bring their individual learned patterns of language and culture to the health care experience that must be transcended to achieve equal access and quality health care. Culturally and linguistically competent services help close the gap in health care outcomes.
The Office of Minority Health established the Center for Linguistic and Cultural Competency in Health Care to address the health needs of populations who speak limited English. Its mission is to collaborate with federal agencies and other public and private entities to enhance the ability of the health care system to effectively deliver linguistically appropriate and culturally competent health care to populations who speak limited English.
The National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (The National CLAS Standards) aim to improve health care quality and advance health equity by establishing a framework for organizations to serve the nation's increasingly diverse communities. The National CLAS Standards include a collective set of mandates and guidelines that inform, guide and facilitate both required and recommended practices related to culturally and linguistically appropriate health services.
The National CLAS Standards were developed by the HHS Office of Minority Health in 2000, and updated in 2013 in partnership with a team of subject matter experts and the public. The Enhanced National CLAS Standards reflect the tremendous growth in the fields of cultural and linguistic competency since 2000 and address demographic trends and changes. The Enhanced National CLAS Standards also ensure relevance with new national policies and legislation, such as the Affordable Care Act.