Cultural Competency Considered Vital To San Francisco Universal Health Care Plan
Experts andobservers have said that the success of
The Healthy San Francisco health initiative seeks to coverall 82,000 uninsured city residents within 18 months to two years. Under the$200 million annual plan, proposed by Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor TomAmmiano, uninsured residents are eligible to receive services within the
Beneficiaries are assigned to a primary care facility that focuses on preventivecare, and they also have access to emergency care, mental health care,substance abuse services, radiology, pharmaceuticals and other medicalservices. Enrollment in the program has been higher than anticipated; cityofficials had estimated that between 600 and 1,000 residents would enroll bythe end of August (Kaiser Daily Health DisparitiesReport,8/16). To date, nearly 5,000 residents have enrolled in the program.
Cultural competency "has long been a part of the city's Public HealthDepartment, its neighborhood clinics and San Francisco General Hospital,"but the idea "becomes all the more crucial, especially because so many of[the uninsured] are poor and hail from other countries," the Chroniclereports. Of the uninsured in
Clinics in the area offer a variety of culturally competent services, includinga no-cost smoking cessation class that incorporates acupuncture, a class thatgives make-up tips to women undergoing chemotherapy in their native languagesand a program that developed a healthy cookbook inspired by Chinese recipes,which organizers are seeking to make available in local Chinese restaurants.The programs are not necessarily covered under the health plan, though many areavailable at no cost.
Lei-Chun Fung, a health educator at one of the clinics participating in theplan, said that cultural competency is important in cancer education forChinese immigrants because many believe that cancer is contagious and thinkthey will automatically die once diagnosed.
"The entire health system, from the front desk to the treating physicians,have to have linguistic fluency, as well as cultural competency," AlbertYu, director of the
Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Weekly HealthDisparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The HenryJ. Kaiser Family Foundation.