Cultural competence continuing education for health professionals has been identified as a key strategy for advancing health equity and achieving the triple aim in Oregon by culturally diverse communities and policy makers alike.
Community Policy Forums
In February of 2010, the Office of Equity and Inclusion held two policy forums with community partners from across the state to discuss policy priorities for Oregon’s diverse populations. Overwhelmingly, culturally competent health care was prioritized as an effective strategy for eliminating health disparities. The adopted version of the bill is available.
The Oregon Health Policy Board
In September of 2010, The Health Equity Policy Review Committee, a committee of the Oregon Health Policy Board (OHPB), identified a culturally competent workforce as one of the core solutions for eliminating health disparities. This recommendation was adopted by the Health Care Workforce Committee and included in their report to the OHPB. The Health Care Workforce Committee’s report highlighted the necessity of cultural competence continuing education in improving health outcomes, improving the delivery of care and lowering related costs. The report identified cultural competency as an essential core skill of the workforce.
Oregon’s Action Plan for Health
Cultural competency was identified as key strategy for advancing health equity and achieving the triple aim throughout Oregon’s Action Plan for Health. The report includes the prioritization of developing a culturally competent workforce in its health equity and reducing barriers to health care strategy areas.
Health Systems Transformation (HST)
Ensuring a culturally-competent workforce has been established as a requirement for Oregon’s newly-formed Coordinated Care Organizations and was included in the CCO request for application (RFA), the transformation plan guidelines and other HST policies.
Senate Bill 97
Due to overwhelming support from community partners and policy makers alike Oregon Health Authority introduced Senate Bill 97, legislation related to cultural competence continuing education for licensed health professionals, in the 2011 legislative session.
In collaboration with these partners, the bill was amended to include, expanding cultural competence beyond race, ethnicity and language to include economic status, disabilities, religion, gender, sexual orientations, and other characteristics as well as removing the mandate and instead directing the Oregon Health Authority to work with stakeholders to explore options for cultural competence continuing education.
The bill received support from nearly one-hundred culturally and professionally diverse stakeholders, including health systems, large advocacy organizations, and statewide community-based groups. For many culturally diverse community based organizations, SB97 was the first opportunity their organization and community had had to lobby in Salem.
For more information about the process of Senate Bill 97, please see: SB 97: The State's Role in Promoting Diverse Community Based Advocacy for Equity in the Policy Making Process
Cultural Competence Continuing Education Committee
In 2012, the Oregon Health Authority established the Cultural Competence Continuing Education Committee to explore opportunities to promote cultural competence continuing education for health care professionals. During and since the 2011 legislative session, discussions with stakeholders reinforced that cultural competence in health care is an important issue that should be taken up during the interim.
For more information about the CCCEC.
House Bill 2611
To continue to advance the work of the CCCEC from the community and ensure legislative commitment to cultural competency, the Urban League of Portland as part of the HOPE Coalition and Oregon Health Equity Alliance, introduced House Bill 2611 this legislative session. In partnership with diverse stakeholders and through skillful negotiation, the legislature passed HB2611 and was signed into law by the Governor. We look forward to continuing to work with the Urban League and other stakeholders to implement this bill and other efforts to improve the cultural competency of health care professionals in Oregon.
For more information, please contact:
Emily Wang, Health Equity Policy Analyst - Emily.L.Wang@state.or.us Ph. 971.673.2960