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Q&A’s-CLAS Standards

1. What are the effects of cultural competence on community heath? Cultural competence or at least the application of culturally competent practices only helps to improve the way in which services are delivered. Cultural competency is more of a way of operating that is inclusive of issues related to culture. Historically, cultural competence has been an afterthought when it comes to service delivery. Over time, it has been determined that the more culturally competent workers are, the more effective and productive they are. With the diverse population served by community health agencies and organizations a need for skills in this area is crucial. CLAS Standards offer a blueprint to assist agencies and organizations seeking to meet the growing needs of this diverse population. 2. Should anyone who works as an interpreter/translator for an agency be certified for it? or have a degree? Some states have certification or programs that determine level of proficiency with regard to language. If the person’s job is actually interpretation and/or translation, it would be recommended that they possess any document required by that particular state. In terms of a degree, any professional position usually requires a degree. It is not recommended that a person without training in the area of interpretation and translation be used as such because this area of expertise requires a multiplicity of skills, education and training in order to perform this valuable service. 3. How will the patient privacy law change in view of these enhanced CLAS Standards? Patient privacy is an issue that is oftentimes brought up due to utilization of interpreters and translators. Organizations are able to use certified and qualified interpreters and translators that are part of the organization and/or are contracted which indicates they will not breach any privacy issues. 4. What about interpreters that are not professionals just a staff person? Some organizations use internal personnel that have language skills as interpreters. Some organizations offer incentives to these staff that are monetary while others offer benefits such as flexible schedules, caseloads, or other strategies to recognize these staff who they consider valuable. One thing to consider is the level of proficiency staff may possess. If a staff is utilized in this role, organizations may run the risk of using staff that are not as prepared and qualified as they could be. Therefore, some organizations have language proficiency screening tools that help them determine these qualifications.

5. What do you recommend for the recruitment process to have a cultural balanced workforce? There are many strategies to recruitment of a culturally competent workforce. Some of those strategies may include efforts to have a workforce that is culturally reflective of the population served and advertising job opening in areas where some of the target racial and ethnic groups are located. Also, offering benefits that will attract prospective workers such as flexible schedules, stipends related to continuing education, shift differential pay, daycare allowances, etc.

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