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New CMS Resources Promote Cultural Competence in Workforce Development and Service Delivery

Three new issue briefs released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office highlight practices and tools that providers of long-term services and supports (LTSS) can deploy to improve the cultural competence of their organizations, strengthen recruitment and retention of direct care workers, and deliver higher quality care through heightened sensitivity to the cultural preferences of consumers. With an increasingly diverse workforce and population of older adults, CMS recognizes an urgent need for providers of LTSS to implement culturally competent employment and service delivery practices. Cultural competence is the ability to work effectively in cross-cultural situations, including among people of different religions, races, ethnicities, linguistic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and gender identities. According to the issue briefs, organizations that respect and value cultural and linguistic diversity have competitive advantages in recruiting and retaining diverse workers and attracting a diverse clientele.

The issue briefs are:

  • Organizational Cultural Competence: This brief highlights strategies for developing cultural competence within LTSS provider organizations, including strategies for assessing organizational cultural competence, supporting diversity throughout the organization, promoting linguistic competence, and engaging community partners.
  • Training Culturally Competent Direct Care Workers: This brief focuses on strategies for training direct care workers in cultural competence, including strengthening organizational policies, using adult learner-centered training methods, and aligning training programs with appropriate settings and communities for direct care workers.
  • Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Direct Care Workforce: This brief provides strategies for recruiting and retaining a diverse direct care workforce, including approaches for inclusive hiring practices, supporting staff through an inclusive environment, and providing comprehensive training for direct care workers, supervisors, and administrators.

Contact: Karen Lipson, klipson@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8383 ext. 124