The following guide summarizes the requirements for providing culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate services to your Medi-Cal patients. You may download any of the forms that we reference in this sheet at https://www.blueshieldca.com/en/bsp/providers/programs/culturallinguistics. For printed copies, call the Cultural & Linguistic Department at 562-580-6077.
Record each patient’s language preference in their medical record.
Interpreter Services Poster
Post the “Free Language Assistance Notice” sign at key points of contact. This sign informs patients who are Limited English Proficient (LEP), that free interpreter services are available to them.
Free Interpreter Services
We provide over-the-phone, face-to-face, and American Sign Language interpreter services for patients who are LEP, hard-of-hearing, or deaf. These services are free to you and your patients.
Patients who are LEP
- Over-the-phone interpreter services: These services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please refer to the “Protocol for How to Access Interpreting Services” sheet.
- Face-to-face interpreter services: Call our Customer Care Department. Requests must be made with advance notice of 5-7 business days.
Patients who are hard-of-hearing or deaf
- To communicate over the phone: You can place calls and receive calls from patients using the California Relay Service (CRS) by dialing 711. The CRS is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- American Sign Language onsite interpreter services: Call our Customer Care Department. Requests must be made with advance notice of 5-7 business days.
For interpreter services after business hours, call our Customer Care Department. Additionally, please ensure the following:
- Your after-hours Answering Service staff and on-call physician/nurses know how to connect with over-the-phone interpreter services and CRS. Please refer to the “Protocol for How to Access Interpreting Services” sheet.
- Your answering machine message instructs patients to call their Health Plan to connect with interpreter services.
|Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan Customer Care|
Request or Refusal of Interpreter Services
- Discourage patients from using friends and family members as interpreters. Do not use minors to interpret unless there is an emergency.
- If a patient requests or refuses interpreter services after being informed of their right to free interpreter services, file a completed “Request/Refusal Form for Interpretive Services” in their medical chart. These forms are available in English and Spanish or in threshold languages on the Blue Shield Promise provider website at https://www.blueshieldca.com/en/bsp/providers/ policies-guidelines-standards-forms/provider-forms under Other patient care forms.
Cultural & Language Related Complaints and Grievances
Your patients have a right to file a complaint and grievance if they feel their cultural or language needs are not met in your office. Grievance forms are available in a variety of languages, including county threshold languages at https://www.blueshieldca.com/en/bsp/medi-cal-members/yourmedi-cal-program/appeals-and-grievance-process.
Referrals to Culturally Appropriate Community Resources & Services
If a patient needs services from a community-based organization or a social service agency, please visit www.HealthyCity.org or use the Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan Community Resource Directory to locate resources. The Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan Community Resource Directory is available on the website. Please document the referral in the patient’s record.
Bilingual Providers & Staff
Providers and staff who communicate with patients in a language other than English, or who act as interpreters are encouraged to take a language proficiency test by a qualified agency. At a minimum, either of the following should be kept on file bilingual Providers and staff:
- Completed language capability self-assessment form. Providers and staff may use the ICE “Provider & Staff Language Capability Self-Assessment” form.
- Those who report limited bilingual capabilities should not act as interpreters or communicate with patients in a language other than English.
- Do not rely on staff other than qualified bilingual staff to communicate directly in a non- English language with members.
- Certification of language proficiency or interpretation training (i.e., resume or curriculum vitae which include number of years worked as interpreter).
Availability of member materials in threshold languages and alternative formats
Patients may request materials in their preferred language and in an alternative format. Alternative formats include Audio CD, Data CD, Braille, and Large Print. For more information, call the Cultural & Linguistic Department.
- Please distribute the Non-Discrimination Notice (NDN) and Language Assistance Notice (LAN) to your providers.
- All member mailings must include the NDN and LAN. https://www.blueshieldca.com/bsca/bsc/wcm/connect/sites/sites_content_en/bsp/aboutpromise/non-discrimination
Disability and Cultural Competency Training Programs
We encourage you and your staff to attend disability sensitivity and cultural competency (diversity, equity, and inclusion) training programs at least annually. These trainings can help enhance your interpersonal and intra-cultural skills, which can improve communication with your culturally diverse patients, including Seniors and People with Disabilities. Programs are available through Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan, L.A. Care, and other agencies.
Please go to the links below to access disability Training:
https://www.blueshieldca.com/bsca/bsc/public/common/PortalComponents/sites/StreamDocumen tSer vlet?fileName=BSP_2019_MakingDifficultConversationsaboutPalliativeCareEasier.pdf
Please reach out to the Serra Medical Group team if we can help you or your office staff with any Training for Health Education or Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services.