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

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Human Resource Development


Staff training and development in the areas of APIA cultural competence and APIA mental health shall be implemented at all levels and across disciplines, for leadership and governing entities, as well as for management and support staff. The strengths brought by cultural competence shall form the foundation for system performance rather than detract or formulate separate agendas.

Implementation Guidelines

  1. Certification for APIA Mental Health Specialists shall be done locally and based on qualifications as determined by a local panel of experts, including APIA culturally competent experts, consistent with state, local, and local laws.
  2. The Health Plan’s clinical workforce shall include and make special effort to recruit and retain at least a percentage of APIA mental health professionals being served commensurate to the demographic characteristics of the service area.
  3. Career ladders for the development and advancement of APIA staff shall be established for clinical and administrative supervisory and senior positions.
  4. Differential pay rates shall be developed and implemented for specialized skills in APIA cultural and linguistic competence in general, and for APIA Mental Health Specialists in particular.
  5. There shall be regularly required cultural competence training for all staff that include issues relevant to APIA mental health care (see section on Cultural Competence Planning). Funding shall be designated to ensure this.
  6. Specific continuing education requirements and performance based standards shall be established for the development, maintenance, and continuance of clinical and cultural competent mental health providers that serve APIAs. Opportunities to, and support for maintaining such continuing education units shall be built into the system.
  7. The Cultural Competence Plan shall develop performance evaluations and promotion opportunities which remove the glass ceiling for APIA staff and managers and which reward APIA cultural competence among all staff.
  8. All states that license or certify providers of mental health services shall require cultural competency training prior to licensing or certification and for renewals. States shall establish accreditation standards for licensing.


Recommended Performance Indicators

  1. Establishment and evaluation of a credentialing process for APIA Mental Health Specialists.
  2. Recruitment, retention, and career development plan for APIA and other APIA culturally competent Mental Health Specialists.
  3. Where appropriate, use of language fluency examinations to determine the level of competence of clinicians to provide comprehensive clinical and preventive care to APIA consumer populations.


Recommended Outcomes

  1. Percent of APIA consumers served in their preferred language.
    Benchmark: 100%
  2. Percent of APIA consumers served by, or under the supervision of, APIA culturally competent bilingual/bicultural Mental Health Specialists.
    Benchmark: 100%
  3. Proportionality of APIA staffing to the needs of APIA populations.
    Benchmark: 1:1 match between need (not strict percent of population) and staffing
  4. Percent of staff receiving at least five hours of training annually in APIA cultural competence awareness.
    Benchmark: 100%
  5. Percent of APIA Mental Health Specialists who have APIA cultural and linguistic competence, in general receiving pay commensurate with their specialized skills.
    Benchmark: 100%