Americans are living longer and healthier lives. However, it’s unfortunate that health disparities between racial and ethnic groups continue to exist, with many chronic health conditions disproportionately affecting certain groups.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services:
- Non-Hispanic black adults are at least 50 percent more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to die of heart disease or stroke before age 75.
- African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives are twice as likely to receive a diabetes diagnosis – and Pacific Islanders are more than three times as likely – compared to whites.
- African Americans have the highest death rate and shortest survival rate of any racial and ethnic group in the United States for most cancers.
Closing the Disparity Gap
Tao Le, M.D., Health Net regional medical director, explained how Health Net is committed to removing barriers that prevent people from achieving their full health potential. For example, the company offers:
- Language services – Health Net interpreters are trained in health care terminology and offer member-preferred language support in more than 250 languages, including sign language. In 2014, Health Net fulfilled more than 200,000 requests for telephonic interpreter services and more than 2,200 requests for face-to-face interpreters.
- Cultural competency and health disparities training – Health Net provides training and tools to its workforce and contracting health care providers to break down communication barriers across cultures. In 2014, it held approximately 40 language services, cultural competency and health literacy training sessions for more than 6,400 participants.
- Health literacy – Health Net members receive culturally and linguistically appropriate materials in easy-to-understand language. Health Net also provides alternate formats for members, including large font, Braille, audio as well as accessible portable document format (PDF).
- Condition-specific health disparities – Health Net designs member-distinct programs and services, such as the ones created for diabetic Latinos featuring classes, a cookbook with healthy versions of traditional Latino dishes, and a pocket guide for health care providers outlining cultural considerations.
Multicultural Health Care Distinction
In 2014, Health Net was the first health plan nationwide to be awarded the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s Multicultural Health Care Distinction simultaneously for its commercial, Medicare and Medicaid lines of business.
“This prestigious award sets us apart from other health plans in that it’s only given to organizations that engage in efforts to improve culturally and linguistically appropriate services and reduce health-care disparities,” said Le. “Health Net has long been committed to achieving health equity across our diverse population of members. We firmly believe that race, ethnicity and gender should not impact anyone’s ability to live a long, heathy life.”
About Health Net
Health Net, Inc. is a publicly traded managed care organization that delivers managed health care services through health plans and government-sponsored managed care plans. Its mission is to help people be healthy, secure and comfortable. Health Net provides and administers health benefits to approximately 6.0 million individuals across the country through group, individual, Medicare (including the Medicare prescription drug benefit commonly referred to as “Part D”), Medicaid, dual eligible, U.S. Department of Defense, including TRICARE, and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs programs. Health Net also offers behavioral health, substance abuse and employee assistance programs, managed health care products related to prescription drugs, managed health care product coordination for multi-region employers, and administrative services for medical groups and self-funded benefits programs.
For more information on Health Net, Inc., visit Health Net’s website at www.healthnet.com.
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