Hss 261 ip4 | HSS261 Ethics in Healthcare | Colorado Technical University
Healthcare Inequities and CLAS Standards: A Case Study Analysis
Racial and ethnic diversity in the United States is rapidly increasing, and healthcare organizations must work to decrease disparities in access and quality of care for diverse populations. Providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS) is essential to meeting the needs of diverse patients and reducing health inequities. The Office of Minority Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) developed the CLAS standards to improve health outcomes and reduce disparities by respecting the culture and language preferences of patients.
In this paper, we will analyze a case study that depicts a healthcare inequity and examine how the CLAS standards can help to reduce disparities in care. We will evaluate which standards are demonstrated in the case study and explore how the healthcare organization can improve its services to better meet the needs of its diverse patient population.
The case study we have selected is “Think Cultural Health Case Study: Using Language Access Services” by the HHS Office of Minority Health (2016b). The video depicts a patient named Ms. Rodriguez who speaks only Spanish and seeks medical care for a persistent cough. She has a history of asthma and allergies, but her primary care physician is not available, and she sees a different provider who does not speak Spanish. Ms. Rodriguez has difficulty communicating her symptoms and medical history, and the provider does not provide an interpreter. As a result, she is misdiagnosed and prescribed medication that exacerbates her symptoms.
The healthcare inequity depicted in this case study is the lack of language access services for non-English speaking patients. Communication barriers can lead to misdiagnosis, inappropriate treatment, and poor health outcomes. Language barriers disproportionately affect immigrants and people with limited English proficiency, leading to disparities in access and quality of care.
Several CLAS standards are not demonstrated in this case study. For example, the healthcare organization does not provide language assistance services or offer translation services for written materials. Additionally, the provider does not assess Ms. Rodriguez’s language needs, which is a requirement under the CLAS standards.
Meeting the CLAS standards would reduce health inequities by ensuring that patients have equal access to quality care regardless of language or cultural background. Providing language assistance services would enable non-English speaking patients to communicate effectively with their healthcare providers, leading to accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Moreover, offering translated written materials would help patients understand their diagnoses, treatment plans, and medications, improving health literacy and promoting self-management.
Improving Healthcare Services
To provide the best care and eliminate health inequities, the healthcare organization in the case study could improve its language access services by offering interpreting services, translation of written materials, and assessing patients’ language needs. In addition, the provider could have used visual aids or demonstrated use of medical equipment to assist with communication. The healthcare organization could also offer cultural competence training to providers to improve their understanding of patients’ cultural beliefs and practices.
Preparing for Similar Situations
To be better prepared to handle similar situations in the future, healthcare providers should be trained on the CLAS standards and provided with the necessary tools and resources to meet patients’ language and cultural needs. Providers should be encouraged to ask questions and seek clarification when needed to ensure clear communication. Healthcare organizations should conduct regular audits and reviews of their language access services to identify areas for improvement and ensure compliance with the CLAS standards.
Healthcare inequities can lead to disparities in access and quality of care for diverse populations. Meeting the CLAS standards is essential to providing culturally and linguistically appropriate care, reducing health inequities, and improving health outcomes for all patients. By analyzing case studies and evaluating how the CLAS standards can be applied, healthcare providers