Oakland, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente has received the "Recognizing Innovation in Multicultural Health Care Award" from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for its efforts to provide health plan members across the country with culturally and linguistically appropriate health care services.

Kaiser Permanente received its award in Washington, D.C. on November 13 during the second annual "Breakthroughs in Reducing Health Care Disparities." The award was initiated after the NCQA, with major funding from The California Endowment and support from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, started to investigate the feasibility for health plans to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate care and to monitor health care disparities using clinical quality data.

"Kaiser Permanente has created an innovative program that health plans nationwide should use as a model for bridging language and cultural gaps that so easily get in the way of quality health care," says Margaret E. O'Kane, president of NCQA. Kaiser Permanente serves more than 8.7 million members who represent over 120 different languages. The health plan provides translated materials that are critical to providing quality and equitable health care for patients who have limited English proficiency.

Kaiser Permanente’s National Standardized Quality Translation Initiative is designed to address the dearth of translated materials in health care, as well as the need to verify the quality of translations. The health plan's national initiative strives to improve both the access to and quality of translated materials, underscoring Kaiser Permanente's commitment to the provision of quality and equitable health care as well as culturally and linguistically competent care.

To address this commitment, Kaiser Permanente created the Health Care Glossary with over 3,000 terms translated in Spanish, including approximately 1,000 terms commonly used in health care system. The Health Care Glossary is currently available in seven languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Armenian and Russian. Establishment of the Glossary also led to the refinement of Kaiser Permanente's previously existing Trilingual Reference Manuals, which now have been disseminated to all Kaiser Permanente Regions as well as partnering institutions in the community. More than 10,000 reference manuals have been shipped since.

Moving forward, Kaiser Permanente plans to incorporate the standardized quality translation process into a Web-based environment in an effort to facilitate shared access, create opportunities for collaboration, reduce translation redundancy and improve translation quality through systematic application of the evidence-based quality assurance and quality improvement process.

Source: Kaiser Permanentea

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