Cultural Competency Toolkit

Highmark Health Options understands that to improve the quality of life of our members, we must be cognizant of their cultural and linguistic differences. A collaborative and trusting patient-provider relationship is the key to reducing the gaps in health care access and outcomes. Highmark Health Options has assembled a list of resources and web-based tools that are intended to help build sensitivity to the cultural and linguistic differences and foster improved understanding and communication.

If you or your staff would like to gain a better understanding of how cultural issues can impact health care and healthcare outcomes, please use this guide as a jumping off point. We have done the research for you and have a wealth of information that will help you gain a better understanding of cultural competency and health equity.

Start by reviewing our Cultural Competency Training Power Point (21 slides). Next, learn more by clicking on the blue “Learn More: Resource Links” to check out our resource links to learn more about health care disparities, office assessment tools, communication tools, and continuing medical education courses. Once you’ve reviewed, complete the Cultural Competency Attestation, and we will acknowledge your cultural competency training in our Provider Directory. If you’ve already completed a Cultural Competency Training Course, please let us know and we would be happy to acknowledge your training in our provider directory. Simply complete the Cultural Competency Attestation.

Attestation Cultural Competency Training

Have you reviewed Cultural Competence Training Power Point along with the additional resources in the “Learn More” link provided?


Have you completed Cultural Competency Training through another source? Attestation Cultural Competency Training

IF you’ve answered yes to either of the above questions, please complete the Cultural Competency Attestation Linked below and Fax it to us. We will designate in the ProviderDirectory that you have completed this training.

Thank you for doing all that you can to support the health and well-being of our members!

Highmark Health Options


Healthcare disparities

AHRQ 2014 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report
Each year since 2003, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has produced the National Healthcare Quality Report and the National Healthcare Disparities Report. These reports to Congress are mandated in the Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-129). Beginning with the 2014 reports, findings on health care quality and health care disparities are integrated into a single document. The new National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report (QDR) highlights the importance of examining quality and disparities together to gain a complete picture of health care. The QDR provides a comprehensive overview of the quality of health care received by the general U.S. population and disparities in care experienced by different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. The report is based on more than 250 measures of quality and disparities covering a broad array of health care services and settings.

Unequal Treatment
Comprehensive study that found a consistent body of research demonstrating significant variation in the rates of medical procedures by race. Experts offer recommendations for improvements.

How Far Have We Come in Reducing Health Disparities?
2010 Institute of Medicine report that shows how little progress has been made.

Assessment tools for evaluating your practice

Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence 
Several self-assessment tools that can be used to measure growth (currently down for enhancements but will be back up Summer 2020)

Office of Minority Health Cross Cultural Clinical Practice Guidelines
Cross-cultural clinical practice implementation resource guide for Medicaid practitioners

Communication regulations and resources

TITLE VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Practitioners are expected to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits race, color or national origin discrimination in programs receiving Federal funds. Practitioners are obligated to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to services for members with limited English proficiency, including provision of translator services as necessary for these members.

Access and Interpreters for Disabled Members 
Practitioner offices are expected to address the need for interpreter services in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Each practitioner is expected to arrange and coordinate interpreter services to assist members who are hearing impaired. Health Options will assist practitioners in locating resources upon request. Health Options offers the Member Handbook and other Health Options information in large print, Braille, on cassette tape, or computer diskette at no cost to the member. Please instruct members to call Member Services at 844-325-6251 to ask for these other formats.

Practitioner offices are required to adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines, Section 504, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and related federal and state requirements that are enacted from time-to-time.

Practitioners may obtain copies of documents that explain legal requirements for translation services by contacting Health Options’ Provider Services Department at 1-844-325-6251.

Communication tools and web resources

Better Communication, Better Care: Provider Tools to Care for Diverse Populations
Toolkit developed by Industry Collaborative Effort (ICE), a nation-wide team of healthcare professionals focusing on improving interaction, communication, and understanding.

Office of Minority Health Language Services Guide
Health care language services implementation guide from the Office of Minority Health, to better serve patients with limited English proficiency.

Index of CMS Resources by Languages
A webpage for language resources provided by Office of Minority Health (CMS/OMH).

Healthy Roads Media
Healthy Roads Media provides health information in many languages and multiple formats including handouts, audio, multimedia, web-video, and iPod video.

Health literacy

Ask Me 3
Ask Me 3, from the Partnership for Clear Health Communications, is a tool for improving communication between providers and patients

Health Literacy Fact Sheets
The Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc. produces a series of nine fact sheets created for those who are designing patient education materials for patients with low health literacy skills. The sheets define health literacy,describe its impact on health outcomes, provide strategies to prepare appropriate educational materials to assist low-literate consumers, and provide resources for additional health literacy information and publications.

Learn more about the cultures you serve

Provider’s Guide to Quality & Culture
Information on selected cultural groups provided by Management Sciences for Health

US Census Bureau Website
Access location data and Quick Facts about DE

Web-based modules for continuing education credit

Please let us know if you complete cultural competency continuing education and we will publish it in our Provider Directory!


Click here to complete attestation

Think Cultural Health Physician's Guide to Culturally Competent Care
A Physician’s Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Minority Health (9.0 CMEs)

Quality Interactions Course
Quality Interactions for Physicians from Manhattan Cross Cultural Group (MCCG) is accredited by Tufts University School of Medicine (2.5 CME). There are also similar courses designed for non-clinical staff, nurses, and care managers.

DiversityRx Website
Diversity Rx offers webinars on various topics that will help your practice meet the cultural and linguistic needs of your practice. In addition, Diversity Rx provides information on models of practice, legal issues and policies.

OMHD About Eliminating Disparities
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has selected six focus areas in which racial and ethnic minorities experience serious disparities in health access and outcomes. Learn more about promising interventions and management strategies.

Need more information?

Call Provider Services to learn more about our network and how to join at 1-844-325-6251.