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Quality Improvement

Cultural Competency

Magellan commits to a strong cultural competency program. Magellan believes that all people entering the behavioral health care system must receive equitable and effective treatment in a manner that is respectful of individual member preferences, needs and values and sensitive to residual stigma and discrimination.

The Program identifies objectives aimed at maintaining or improving cultural competency among Magellan staff and throughout the Network.

The Program is rooted in maintaining the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (The National CLAS Standards), by weaving cultural competence efforts throughout Magellan’s quality improvement practices.

Resources Available for Providers


Magellan encourages providers to maintain practices that are deeply rooted in cultural competence as well, focusing on continual training and education to support staff. There are resources available for training made available and at no cost from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS), Office of Minority Health (OMH). Such trainings include coursework for all levels of staff (i.e. nurses, psychiatrists, social workers, etc.) that may offer continuing education (CEs). The training modules are available at the following location.

Specific to improving cultural competency for behavioral health professionals, OMH offers the free and online trainings. Information on the number of approved credit contact hours available for the various disciplines is included here.

Additionally, there are free, self-directed trainings available, such as “A Physician’s Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care,” also available through the DHHS, Office of Minority Health. This course was developed for the intended audience of physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. Continuing Medical Education (CME/CE) credits are available for completion of this course.

Language Assistance Services

Magellan offers language assistance services support for instances when Members contact Magellan and may benefit from oral interpretation, translation services, non-English languages or alternative formats of materials, or communication approaches for supporting Members of the deaf/hard of hearing community. Magellan staff are trained routinely in how to access these supportive services.

Magellan encourages providers to maintain a similar process of accessibility for services and training for staff so that when opportunities present to support Members that may have language assistance needs, the team is prepared to fully respond to ensure the best possible treatment outcomes.

When using interpretation services there may be various considerations to successful communication. The following resource from the DHHS, Office of Minority Health detail some of these helpful tips: “Interpreter Tool: Working with Interpreters in Clinical Settings.”

Another helpful document made available by DHHS, Office of Minority Health is “Working with an Interpreter: Roles of an Interpreter and the Triadic Interview.” This one-page guide clarifies the relationship roles of a Member, interpreter, and provider to achieve clear communication.

Additional Resources Available

Magellan supports the application of CLAS Standards to services throughout Magellan’s behavioral healthcare network to promote equity in behavioral health care delivery system. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) collaborated with the OMH to develop the Behavioral Health Implementation Guide for the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care. This link provides a comprehensive guide for providers to inform development or analysis of organizational procedures. The Guide focuses on improving access to care, quality care, and reduction of disparities in behavioral health treatment for underserved populations.

TIP 46: Substance Use Treatment: Administrative Issues in Outpatient Treatment from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Though the guide is comprehensive for outpatient services, it provides guideline and discussion about cultural competence in programs focused at addressing substance use treatment needs.

Guidance from the National Institute of Health for “Clear Communication” and Cultural Respect.

TIP 59: Improving Cultural Competence from the SAMHSA. This guide focuses on understanding cultural competence and racial and ethnic considerations.

The Cultural Competency Toolkit available on the national Magellan provider website.

Cultural Competence Implementation Assessment Tool for providers to understand Magellan’s expectations for network providers’ cultural competence practices

Magellan’s LGBTQIA+ Audit Tool available for provider utilization.

Goals of the Magellan Cultural Competency Plan

  • Enable staff and affiliated providers to deliver culturally competent care in an effective, understandable, and respectful manner that is compatible with the Members’ cultural health beliefs, practices, and preferred language. Services are designed to affirm and respect the worth of the individual and the individual’s dignity.
  • Address the need for cultural competency through a combination of specific recruitment and training strategies.
  • Implement strategies at all levels of the organization to recruit, retain, and promote a diverse staff and leadership that are representative of the demographic characteristics of the service area in both the provider network and Magellan staffing. This includes targeted recruitment efforts, if deficiencies are identified.
  • Enable staff at all levels and across all disciplines to receive ongoing education and training in culturally and linguistically appropriate service delivery.
  • To facilitate language assistance provided to limited English proficient Members by interpreters and bilingual staff.
  • To make available easily understood Member-related materials. Examples of these items may include documents for educational purposes, complaint, appeal, and grievance resolution materials, etc. These documents will be made available in the languages of the commonly encountered groups and/or groups represented in the service area, including an alternative language for which >5% of the population speaks, and written at no greater than a 6th grade reading level.
  • To develop participatory, collaborative partnerships. These collaborative efforts may be both formal and informal mechanisms engaged within communities to facilitate community and Member involvement in designing and implementing initiatives relevant to the membership’s cultural needs.
  • To set forth a plan that guides adherence to the CLAS standards for culturally competent care.


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