HHS unveils standards for languages, cultures

One standard reads, "Inform all individuals of the availability of language assistance services clearly and in their preferred language, verbally and in writing."

Another urges healthcare providers to "Collect and maintain accurate and reliable demographic data to monitor and evaluate the impact of CLAS on health equity and outcomes and to inform service delivery."

“We are making great strides in providing quality care and affordable coverage for every American, regardless of race or ethnicity or other cultural factors because of the Affordable Care Act,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement announcing the new standards. “The Enhanced National CLAS Standards will help us build on this ongoing effort to ensure that effective and equitable care is accessible to all.” 

“Disparities have prevented improved outcomes in our health and healthcare system for far too long," the department's Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh said in a statement. “The enhanced CLAS Standards provide a platform for all persons to reach their full health potential.”

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