The intersection of patient satisfaction and quality of care is central to healthcare today, and a provider’s level of cultural competence can significantly impact his/her performance in both areas. Recent focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in healthcare has impacted how policymakers are approaching related issues, such as cultural competence in patient care. Some state governments have determined that a provider’s ability to deliver culturally competent care is an essential component to promoting effective and efficient healthcare delivery. For example, Nevada, Oregon, Connecticut, New Jersey, California, Washington, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia each require some form of cultural competency training in their continuing education requirements for certain healthcare providers. In 2023, Illinois legislators introduced two major bills that mandate cultural competency training: H.B. 2450 and S.B. 2427. While these bills take different approaches, both seek to reduce challenges that patients can face in navigating the healthcare system in the absence of culturally competent care and well-resourced providers, including discrimination, reduced quality of services and insurance inadequacies.
Kathleen M. O'Neill is an associate in the Corporate Practice Group in the firm's Chicago office.