Cultural Competence Standards in Managed Care Mental Health Services for Asian and Pacific Islander Americans

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Disclaimer: The set of guidelines that are included in this document are general suggestions made by the panel for consideration by clinicians, who must continue to rely on their own professional judgement and training and the individualized assessment and needs of their patients. There is no representation here that these guidelines are appropriate for any particular patient. The panel that developed these guidelines disclaim all liability and cannot be held responsible for problems that may arise from their use.

The Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) Panel is one of eight panels to establish competency standards for mental health service providers within a managed care setting, with special attention to various underserved populations including Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. The APIA Panel is comprised of 24 nationally recognized practitioners, consumers, advocates, governmental representatives and researchers. This panel’s work in development of the Cultural Competence Standards In Managed Care Mental Health Services for Asian and Pacific Islander Americans was sponsored by The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) Mental Health Program and funded by the Center for Mental Health Services of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Asian Pacific Islander Americans (APIA) are often misunderstood to be a homogeneous ethnic group. Unfortunately, failure to make distinctions among the diverse ethnic, cultural, and language groups that comprise APIAs, and tendencies to generalize their economic, social, and political circumstances, can lead to faulty conclusions related to mental health needs among APIAs. Thus, the intent of the preamble to the Cultural Competence Standards In Managed Care Mental Health Services for Asian and Pacific Islander Americans is to demonstrate the diversity of the groups and concerns that APIAs represent, in order for administrators, clinicians, educators, and researchers to better understand APIA mental health concerns, and thereby effectively implement these standards for culturally competent mental health care to APIAs.

The Cultural Competency Standards are partitioned into three primary areas, Overall System Standards and Guidelines; Provider Competencies; and Clinical Standards and Guidelines. All three areas are comprised of several individual standards. Implementation guidelines and recommendations for performance indicators accompany each of these standards. The goal of these Standards is to establish a system of care that incorporates at all levels of operation, the importance of culture, the assessment of cross-cultural relations, vigilance towards the dynamics that result from cultural differences, the expansion of cultural knowledge, and the adaptation of services to meet culturally unique needs.