VBH-PA places great importance on ensuring that members have access to services conducted by providers that are sensitive to their cultural and linguistic needs. In order to facilitate such “culturally competent” practice, training is provided on two fronts:
- VBH-PA provides internal training programs for employees to increase staff’s ability to respond appropriately to persons of different backgrounds and cultures.
- VBH-PA provides network provider forums and individual provider mentoring that is geared to enhance the provider’s ability to respond across cultural boundaries in the clinical setting. Through such programming, providers are encouraged to evaluate their practices in light of the following guidelines:
- Awareness and respect for the importance of culture,
- Importance of assessment of the impact of cross-culture relations,
- Awareness of the dynamics of “difference”,
- Continuous expansion of cultural knowledge and culturally competent practice patterns,
- Adapting practice patterns to meet the ethically centered needs of certain populations (e.g. African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians) as well as the culturally centered needs of such groups as Appalachians, Native Americans and the Amish,
- Special treatment considerations when working with the employed poor and members experiencing poverty and homelessness,
- Design of office environment and staff training to incorporate the cultural and linguistic needs of members.