Cultural Competence Standards in Managed Mental Health Care

Human Resource Development

Staff training and development in the areas of cultural competence and racial/ethnic 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 form the foundation for system performance rather than detract or formulate separate agendas.


Implementation Guidelines

  1. Certification for Mental Health Specialists shall be done locally and based on performance-based qualifications as determined by a local panel of culturally competent experts consistent with state, local, and tribal laws.
  2. The Health Plan’s clinical workforce shall include and make special effort to recruit and retain at least a proportional representative percentage of mental health professionals from each of the four groups and their subgroups being served.
  3. Career ladders for the development and advancement of racial/ethnic staff shall be established for clinical, administrative, supervisory, and senior positions.
  4. Differential pay rates shall be developed and implemented for specialized skills in cultural and linguistic competence in general, and for racial/ethnic Mental Health Specialists in particular.
  5. There shall be regularly required cultural competence training for all staff (see section on Cultural Competence Planning). Funding shall be designed to ensure this.
  6. Specific continuing education requirements and performance-based standards shall be established for the development, maintenance, and continuance of clinically and culturally competent mental health providers to serve individuals from any of the four groups.
  7. 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 bodies.


Recommended Performance Indicators

  1. Establishment and evaluation of a credentialing process for racial/ethnic Mental Health Specialists.
  2. Recruitment, retention, and career development plan for racial/ethnic and other culturally competent mental health professionals.
  3. Use of language fluency examinations to determine the level of competence of clinicians and interpreters to provide comprehensive clinical and preventive care.


Recommended Outcomes

  1. Percentage of consumers from the four groups served in their preferred language.
    Benchmark: 100%.
  2. Percentage of consumers from the four groups served by, or under the supervision of, culturally competent bilingual/bicultural Mental Health Specialists.
    Benchmark: 100%.
  3. Proportionality of racial/ethnic staffing to the needs of the four populations.
    Benchmark: There is a 1:1 match between need (not strict percentage of population) and staffing.
  4. Percentage of staff receiving at least five hours of training annually in cultural competence awareness.
    Benchmark: 100%.