One of the crucial elements of the successful work of a health care professional is the ability to benefit from experience exchange with other organizations and specialists. Broad implementation of evidence-based practice and the application of past results achieved by others might enrich one’s scope of health care skills and ultimately contribute to the health and well-being of the served community. Therefore, the current summary of an interview with a representative of the Hispanic Health Initiatives organization in Central Florida unveils its strategies aimed at meeting the health care needs of Latino residents. The summary addresses the strengths and weaknesses of the provided services for the minority population as a whole, and its groups, in particular, concerning National CLAS Standards.
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The Organization’s Strategies to Address the Primary Health Care Needs of Hispanic Population
As it has been identified at the stage of primary health needs assessment of the Hispanic/Latino community in Florida, the most crucial issues that this population faces include are linked with alcohol abuse as an outcome of social disintegration and economic disadvantage. The health problems related to these issues include cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, mental disorders, STDs, HIV, and high birth mortality. In response to the identified health needs, the Hispanic Health Initiatives organization specializes exclusively in the Hispanic population’s health problems by initiating educational, promotional, and preventative interventions.
For health care professionals working with a culturally diverse community, it is vital to implement linguistically and culturally sensitive services (Liu, Poirier, Butler, Comrie, & Pailden, 2015). Moreover, it is explicitly stated in the National CLAS Standards that the healthcare organization is obliged to “offer language assistance to individuals who have limited English proficiency… at no cost to them, to facilitate timely access to all health care and services” (Office of Minority Health, 2016, para. 7).
The interviewee stated that the organization employs both native Latino professionals and non-Latino specialists with proper language skills to ensure timely diagnosis within the health risk assessment program related to substance abuse. Also, the organization deals with underinsured populations who struggle to find access to quality care, thus meeting the standards of affordable medical services. Therefore, by employing linguistically and culturally competent staff and initiating health promotional, educational, and preventative procedures for the vulnerable population, the organization manages to meet the needs of Hispanic patients and implement National CLAS Standards.
The Organization’s Benefits from Meeting National CLAS Standards
The organization has achieved significant results in terms of making a positive change to people’s quality of life under the circumstances of complicated access to care due to immigration. As has been identified during the needs assessment procedure, the main reason for alcohol abuse and related health care outcomes is acculturative stress. The interviewed health care professional emphasized that the establishment of understanding and open communication with the community is a priority of the organization’s work with the target population.
Since National CLAS Standards determine qualitative culturally and linguistically sensitive care as the basis for equity in medical access, Hispanic Health Initiatives benefit from the adherence to these guidelines (Office of Minority Health, 2016). The interviewee underlined that the staff and volunteers working at the organization mirror the served community in terms of gender, language, and cultural beliefs.
Also, the employees at Hispanic Health Initiatives are exposed to continuous quality improvement procedures that align with CLAS guidelines. The employees regularly implement health needs assessment health assets analysis by communicating with the residents and attributing all available resources to help Hispanics resolve their health problems regardless of social, economic, or cultural restraints.
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Overall, as the interviewed healthcare professional said, adherence to CLAS standards provides an opportunity to carry out well-planned and culturally effective services for different groups within the Hispanic community. The numerous success stories and positive changes made to the community’s perception of access to health care in the USA justify the advantageous utilization of National CLAS Standards within the organization.
Strengths of the Organization in Addressing the National CLAS Standards
In the course of the interview, several strong sides of the organizations’ addressing the CLAS standards have been identified. According to Zwijnenberg, Hendriks, Hoogervorst-Schilp, and Wagner (2016), the information about patient safety culture in a culturally diverse community contributes to the improvements of services and provides more opportunities for meeting the target population’s specific health needs. As the interviewee explained, the organization advocates Hispanics’ patient safety by establishing community-based interventions aimed at informing and educating the population about the available healthcare services and their importance.
The bilingual staff ensures mutual understanding between patients and health care professionals. In terms of clinical prevention, there are specific health risk assessment programs aimed at addressing such issues as heart disease, HIV, STDs, diabetes, cancer, and others. The volunteers at the organization promote and encourage healthy behaviors and adequate health choices for the longevity and overall well-being of the Hispanic community in Florida.
Challenges of the Organization in Addressing the National CLAS Standards
Health literacy is identified as one of the most challenging issues in healthcare provision to minority groups. As stated by Wolpin et al. (2016), health literacy limitations impose inadequate perception of the information regarding the state of health and the severity of an illness resulting in the inability to “make appropriate health decisions” (p. 1). During the interview, the representative of Hispanic Health Initiatives answered the question concerning the difficulties in their work with culturally specific patients. The interviewee identified the achievement of health literacy standards as one of the most complicated tasks due to the multidimensional nature of the problem.
Indeed, to succeed in health education of necessary information, the specialists need to reach the population, promote the benefits and risks related to health literacy and the lack of thereof, as well as ensure the adherence of the patients to the recommendations given by the organization. To resolve these issues and help more people to adhere to a healthy lifestyle and seek medical assistance through community services, Hispanic Health Initiatives conducts a regular demographic assessment to control population health needs and identify health disparities within the Latino community of Central Florida.
In summation, the interview with a health care professional working with Hispanic patients has provided a significant scope of considerations regarding the strategies the organization uses, strengths and weaknesses of meeting National CLAS Standards, as well as the overall benefits of the culturally and linguistically sensitive care provision for vulnerable populations. The primary health problems include STDs, HIV, heart diseases, and cancer, as imposed by excessive alcohol consumption based on acculturative stress.
When meeting these health needs, the Hispanic Health Initiatives organization works to promote a healthy lifestyle, timely diagnosis, and assists with health care access for underinsured populations. While there are several benefits and strengths in meeting the CLAS requirements are identified, there remain some challenges that need to be resolved in the future. One of them is health literacy promotion, which requires integrative and continuous work within the community.
Office of Minority Health. (2016). The national CLAS standards. Web.
Zwijnenberg, N. C., Hendriks, M., Hoogervorst-Schilp, J., & Wagner, C. (2016). Healthcare professionals’ views on feedback of a patient safety culture assessment. BMC Health Services Research, 16, 199–208.
Liu, M., Poirier, T., Butler, L., Comrie, R., & Pailden, J. (2015). Design and evaluation of interprofessional cross-cultural communication sessions. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 29(6), 622–627.
Wolpin, S. E., Nguyen, J. K., Parks, J. J., Lam, A. Y., Morisky, D. E., Fernando, L.,… Berry, D. L. (2016). Redesigning pictographs for patients with low health literacy and establishing preliminary steps for delivery via smart phones. Pharmacy Practice, 14(2), 1–9.