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

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Availability of mental health services to people who need them in a manner that facilitates their use; providing the opportunity for people to obtain mental health services from behavioral health providers; providing an active program of community information and outreach to motivate participation in mental health services.

Alternative/Traditional Healer (folk healer)

Individual who is respected by the community, who has cultural knowledge and training to relieve people of their physical and emotional afflictions within their cultural beliefs sometimes using physical approaches, spirituality, herbs, and other techniques as a form of healing; individual recognized by a cultural group or tradition with the authority and power to perform rituals, ceremonies, or utilize medicinal substances for physical and spiritual healing.

Asian American/Pacific Islander culturally competent Mental Health Specialist

A bilingual/bicultural mental health professional with clinical cultural competence who has expertise in the professional practice of serving APIs and who is able to integrate cultural knowledge and competency into the clinical/service interaction with API consumers.


The ability to understand and function effectively in two or more cultural environments; an individual who is bicultural is not necessarily culturally competent.


The ability to speak two or more languages. Individuals who are involved in serving limited English-proficient persons should be certified to do so.

Case Manager (Or Care Manager)

Individual with special skills in advocacy, access of community-based services and systems, and inter-agency coordination; a key person on the treatment team and the first point of contact for a consumer.

Comparability of Benefits

Benefits afforded to different cultural/ethnic or socioeconomic groups relatively equal to each other and to the same services provided across all populations served, including any adaptations necessary to reach equal access and utilization.


Having the capacity to function effectively.

Cultural Competence

A set of congruent practice skills, behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals and enables that system, agency, or those professionals to work effectively in cross-cultural situations. The ability to demonstrate skills and knowledge which enable a person to work effectively across cultures; the ability to provide mental health treatment within the cultural framework of the consumer; the ability to provide effective services to people of a specific cultural background, including one different from the provider.


The integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thought, communication, actions, customs, beliefs, values and institutions of a racial, ethnic, religious, or social group. culture defines the preferred ways for meeting needs.

Folk Healer

See Alternative/Traditional Healer


A problem or complaint presented formally or informally in a prepaid Health Plan for information, action, or resolution.

Health Plan/Plan

Managed care plan or network; equally applies to public agencies delivering managed services; a care system, public or private, based on capitated rates in which costs should be managed through effective care.


Individual trained and certified in facilitating oral, written, or manual communication between two or more people of different languages; interpreters should have in-depth knowledge not only of the language, but also of cultural values, beliefs, and verbal and non-verbal expressions.

Minority Mental Health Specialist

A mental health professional who is culturally competent; this would include demonstrated skills and knowledge of mental health needs of ethnic minority consumers/families.

Management Information System

A system (normally/almost universally automated or computer based) which produces the necessary information in proper form and at appropriate intervals for the management of a program or other activities. The system should afford indicators which measure program progress toward objectives, identify discrete costs and which facilitate identification of problems which need attention.


An organization or individual, such as a hospital or physician, that provides and is reimbursed for behavioral health care service.

Quality Assurance

Systematic efforts to review and improve the caliber of services provided; activities and programs intended to assure the improvement of care in a defined medical setting or program. Such efforts shall include educational or other approaches intended to remedy identified deficiencies in services and methods, as well as the components necessary to identify such deficiencies (such as peer or utilization review components); the intended objective should be to assess the program’s own effectiveness.

Sponsored Person

Person covered by a particular health plan.


Individual trained to render written or spoken information from one language to another.

Unsponsored Person

Person not covered by a particular health plan


Greater clinical or cost-effectiveness in a service when it is provided in a specialized or modified manner (e.g., different technique vs. more experienced practitioners). As example, a person with skills to perform more than one task, i.e. professionally serve both English-speaking consumers and Spanish-speaking consumers.

Wrap-around Services

A continuum of benefits organized around an individual enrollee’s treatment needs (e.g., transportation, childcare, interpretation services).