Sponsored: Conversations around health equity drive changes to health care.
Based on the belief that healthy communities boil down to healthy relationships between care providers and patients, AllCare Health’s efforts revolve around building bridges of understanding.
As a Coordinated Care Organization (CCO) in Southern Oregon, AllCare tackles health inequity by listening to the needs of diverse, rural communities and designing educational programs to help health providers meet them.
“We can cover everyone with insurance, but if we don’t meet people where they’re at, we’re going to have disparities,” says Stick Crosby, Network and Health Equity Manager of AllCare Health. “Zip codes determine as much as seven years in a person’s life expectancy. Race is another huge factor. It could be bias in the system, or simple things, such as not having a bus stop to get to your doctor.”
To figure out why certain groups were not accessing their health care options fully, AllCare began holding listening sessions, now a cornerstone of their strategy. While sitting down with underrepresented communities, AllCare listens to their concerns and, based on those conversations, provides the appropriate training to health care providers.
“For example, we’ve been meeting with individuals who identify as Indigenous People and conducting listening sessions. Then we go to the providers and give them training on culturally competent care,” Crosby says. “Most insurance companies are just insurance companies, but as a CCO, we get involved with the individual. We really focus on independent physicians and think they can serve their communities well while maintaining their smaller practice.”
Today, AllCare’s health equity measure requires that providers have 70% of staff go through a cultural competence program. This unique method of engaging, listening and reacting took off in 2016, when their member survey revealed that some patients felt like they were treated differently due to race, disability or LGBTQ status.
When AllCare learned that many patients had difficulties understanding medical language, they doubled down on health literacy, training staff and providing documents at different reading levels. When they uncovered a glaring need for interpreters in Josephine, Jackson and Curry counties, AllCare established and heavily subsidized a licensing program to quickly train people in the 12 leading languages, bringing the number of licensed interpreters from two to 104. In 2018, they realized there were no sign language interpreters. Now, one year later, there are seven.
With a listening ear and a propensity for action, AllCare Health translates the unique needs of each community into modern health care practices that meet people “where they’re at.”
On Friday, August 16, AllCare is hosting an Interpreters Conference in Medford, OR, providing local medical interpreters the opportunity to receive Continuing Education Credits (CECs).
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