We understand the language and culture of our members

At Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan, we recognize that language misunderstandings and lack of cultural awareness can sometimes disrupt clear communication during the process of receiving care. So, we ensure that members can communicate clearly with health care providers and Blue Shield Promise, no matter what language they're most comfortable speaking.

The Blue Shield Promise Cultural and Linguistics Department ensures all members have access to interpretation services related to receiving health care, in their language of choice.

We support you

Our support includes:

  • FREE interpreter services to members with limited English proficiency, via telephone or face-to-face interpreters at the provider's office.
  • FREE sign language interpretation assistance for our hard-of-hearing members.
  • Member Handbooks/Evidence of Coverage and other important information are available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Armenian, Farsi, Korean, Chinese, Cambodian, Russian, Vietnamese, and Tagalog.
  • Education programs for our providers, their staff, and our employees to improve their understanding of how a member's cultural background affects their approach to health care.
  • Regularly organized programs for our diverse employee population, focused on increasing awareness and understanding of different cultures.
  • Free access to materials in alternative formats for our members, (by request). This includes member documents in Braille, Electronic Text File, audio, or large print.

Cultural awareness and linguistics resources

A Physician’s Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care

The Office of Minority Health (OMH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is dedicated to improving the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will help eliminate disparities. A Physician’s Practical Guide to Culturally Competent care is a free online educational program that will equip you with the knowledge, skills, and awareness to best serve all patients regardless of cultural or linguistic background.

A Physician’s Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care

Implicit Bias in Healthcare and What You Can Do About It

Implicit bias refers to the brain’s instant association of attitudes or stereotypes toward groups without our conscious awareness. It can have the least obvious but most devastating impact on health equity. This interactive module is a quick way for clinicians and office staff to recognize and mitigate implicit bias.
Implicit Bias in Healthcare and What You Can Do About It

Birth Equity: Implicit Bias Training

Responding to strong evidence of racial inequalities in perinatal care and outcomes, Diversity Science and Project Director Rachel Hardeman, PhD, MPH, are creating interactive e-learning modules for perinatal providers focused on implicit bias and reproductive justice. Developed in accordance with the training requirements outlined in the California Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act (Senate Bill 464), which went into effect in January 2020, all of the e-learning modules and resources will be available free of charge. The first two modules are now live.

Eliminating Inequities in Perinatal Health Project

What your Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning patients would like you to know (February 2020)

This webinar covers practical guidelines and considerations for providing inclusive health care to your LGBT/Q patients. Topics include creating a welcoming environment for LGBT/Q patients, using non-judgmental questions, and using language preferred by LGBT/Q patients.
Recorded webinar (1.5 hours)
Presentation (PDF, 1.3 MB)

Disability, civil rights, Americans with Disabilities Act/Sec. 504, and Olmstead Act training

This training introduces the ADA Section 504 and Olmstead act. It helps providers gain understanding and be prepared to serve and interact effectively with patients with disabilities.
ADA and Olmstead Act presentation (PDF, 600 KB)

Americans with Disabilities Act

This training covers the Olmstead Act, transition planning, accessibility and accommodations, wellness principles, and the independent living philosophy.
Americans with Disabilities Act (5 minutes)

Federal and State Cultural and Linguistics requirements

This guide summarizes Federal and State requirements for providing culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate services to your Medi-Cal, Medicare, and Cal MediConnect patients.
Provider Cultural and Linguistic Responsibilities (PDF, 136 KB)

Provider and staff language capability self-assessment tool

Health plans developed this tool to identify and document practitioners' and staff multilingual capabilities. It also provides a way for providers and health plans to improve customer care and service in a collaborative manner.
Provider and Staff Language Capability Self-Assessment Tool (PDF, 688 KB)

It is important that all multilingual practitioners and members of their staff who speak with patients in a language other than English complete this form and keep a copy on file along with additional qualifications.

Interpretation services poster

A translated poster informing patients that they can receive interpretation services at no cost must be posted in visible areas in your office (e.g. reception desk, waiting room, exam room, etc.). The information in this poster is translated into 11 threshold languages required for Los Angeles County.
Free interpretation services poster (PDF, 1.7 MB)

24-hour interpretation services information and request forms

Our 24/7 interpretation services are available at no cost to members and providers. Please allow at least 5 business days for the request of face-to-face interpretation and for sign language assistance.
How to access interpreting services (Face-to-Face, Over-the-Phone, and American Sign Language) (PDF, 129 KB)
Access to California Relay Services Assistance for the Hard-of-Hearing, Deaf, or Speech-Disabled Patients (PDF, 102 KB)

To find Interpreter services request and refusal forms in multiple languages, visit the Provider forms page.

Access to materials in other languages and alternative formats

Health education and member informing materials are available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Armenian, Farsi, Korean, Chinese, Cambodian, Russian, Vietnamese, and Tagalog. Materials in other languages and alternative formats (Braille, Electronic Text File, Audio, Large Print) are available upon request. To request materials in another language or in an alternative format, please contact Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan's C&L Department. Download request instructions for your patients below:
Instructions for Medi-Cal members in Los Angeles County (PDF, 949 KB)
Instructions for Medi-Cal members in San Diego County (PDF, 506 KB)
Instructions for Medicare members (PDF, 415 KB)
Instructions for Cal MediConnect members (PDF, 400 KB)

Referrals to community programs and services

This service is available at no cost to members. It is important that you refer our members to culturally appropriate resources from community-based organizations and other available agencies. These programs and services go beyond health education classes and can include, but are not limited, to:

  • Domestic violence
  • Parenting
  • Support groups
  • Adoption services
  • Family counseling
  • and more.

The Cultural and Linguistics Department can assist you in locating community organizations and resources that offer culturally sensitive programs and services for our members . If you need to refer a patient to a culturally and linguistically appropriate service, please follow these steps:

  1. Refer to the Blue Shield Promise Cultural and Linguistics Services Community Resource Directories to locate and recommend the appropriate service:
    Los Angeles County Community Resource Directory and Referral Request form (PDF, 843 KB)
    San Diego County Community Resource Directory and Referral Request form (PDF, 1.6 MB)

  2. The Blue Shield Promise Cultural and Linguistics Specialist, with the assistance of the Utilization Management and/or Health Education departments if necessary, will make every effort to find the proper service and make an open-ended referral.
  3. After the patient has been contacted and referred to the appropriate agency or organization, the provider will receive notification via fax.

Culturally-sensitive palliative care conversations

  1. Overview - Behavioral Health (HHS)  
    The goal of this course is to help behavioral health professionals increase their cultural and linguistic competency.
  2. Overview - Maternal Health Care (HHS)
    The e-learning program is designed for providers and students who are seeking knowledge and skill related to cultural competency, cultural humility, person-centered care and combating implicit bias across the continuum of maternal health care. 
  3. Overview - A Physician’s Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care (HHS) 
    This e-learning program is part of the Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) grounded in the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health. The intent of this program is to support the delivery of culturally and linguistically competent services and the implementation of National CLAS Standards.

Making Difficult Conversations about Palliative Care Easier and Culturally Sensitive Presentation by Alen Voskanian, MD, MBA, FAAHPM, Regional Medical Director, VITAS Healthcare. (PDF, 1.2 MB)