Mercy Care believes that as our community continues to grow and become more ethnically diverse, the care that we provide is constantly evolving and becoming more complex. In our system of care, providers are encouraged to become more culturally competent, as well as to recognize the importance of health literacy. Addressing member’s concerns according to their literacy and culture, as well as providing language access services and culturally competent care are the priorities of Mercy Care's Cultural Competence Department. To achieve this, Mercy Care has developed a Cultural Competency Plan that addresses the diverse needs of our system, fosters internal and external collaboration, and ensures provision of high quality language services at no cost to the member.
How you can help patients get optimal care
Over time, our health care system has become increasingly complex, and the care we provide is constantly evolving and becoming more complicated. Meanwhile, our community continues to grow more ethnically diverse. That’s why it’s incumbent on providers to make sure patients understand their care regimen.
There are two key things you can do to help ensure your patients get the best care possible and that they understand the care they’re receiving.
1. Become a more culturally competent provider
This means understanding different cultures, especially your patients’ cultures, and how they view and access health care services. Additional resources pertaining to Cultures and Spiritual Traditions can be found with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health and the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).
Understanding health care disparities
Why culturally competent care matters
What is a culturally competent provider?
- Is aware of his or her biases
- Is knowledgeable about other cultures
- Is aware of health disparities
- Establishes common ground
- Builds trust
- Respects patients’ beliefs and values
- Maintains and conveys unconditional positive regard
- Uses interpreter services when needed
Increase your cultural competency
- Listen with sympathy and understanding to the patient's perception of the problem.
- Explain your perceptions of the problem.
- Acknowledge and discuss the differences and similarities.
- Recommend treatment.
- Negotiate treatment.
Training resources for our providers
As part of our cultural competency program, we encourage our providers to access information on the Office of Minority Health's A Physician's Guide to Culturally Competent Care. The American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physicians endorse this program, which provides up to 9.0 hours of category 1 AMA credits at no cost.
2. Recognize the importance of health literacy
Download the manual for physicians, Health Literacy and Patient Safety
Why health literacy matters
How to help patients with limited health literacy