Providers | Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan

Cultural and Linguistics

Cultural and Linguistics (C&L)

Cultural and Linguistics (C&L)

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. So we emphasize our understanding in those areas to make sure we can communicate clearly with our members-no matter what language they're most comfortable speaking.

The Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan Cultural and Linguistics (C&L) Department was formed to ensure that all members have access to health care providers and services in their language of choice.

We Support You

The following are just some ways we demonstrate our commitment in assisting our members.

  • FREE interpreter services to members with limited English proficiency via telephone or face-to-face interpreters at the providers' office.
  • FREE sign language interpretation assistance for our hard of hearing members.
  • Member handbooks and other important information are available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Armenian, Farsi, Korean, Chinese, Cambodian, Russian, Vietnamese and Tagalog.
  • Education programs that are designed for our providers and their staff, and our employees to improve their understanding of how a member's cultural background affects their approach to healthcare.
  • Programs that increase the awareness and understanding of different cultures are also regularly organized for our diverse employee population.
  • Free access to member informing materials in alternative format, by request. This includes member documents in Braille, Electronic Text File, Audio, or Large Print.

The C&L Department is guided in its work by a Community Advisory Committee which is comprised of community based organizations that represents the population Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan serves.


Resource Corner

Provider & Staff Toolkit

Program Description, Member Rights & Responsibilities, Interpreting Services, Protocol of How to Access Interpreting Services, Request/Refusal of Interpreting Services Form, TTY-TDD Assistance, After Business Hours Interpreting Services, Language Capabilities, CLAS Referral, Community Resource Directory, Training & Resources, ICE Tool. For more information, please call (323) 827-6030.


Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan Disability Civil Rights (ADA/Sec.504 and Olmstead)

This resource introduces the Disability Civil Rights; Section.504 and Olmstead act. This can help providers be prepared and gain understanding in how to effectively serve and interact with patients with disabilities.


24-Hour Interpretation Services

This service is available at no cost to members and providers. Call Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan Member Services at (800) 605-2556. Please allow at least 5-7 business days for the request of face-to-face interpretation, and at least 14 business days for sign language assistance.

Request or Refusal of Interpreting Services Form


Access to Materials in Other Languages & Alternative Format

Health Education and Member informing materials are available to members in English, Spanish, Arabic, Armenian, Farsi, Korean, Chinese, Cambodian, Russian, Vietnamese and Tagalog. Other languages are available by request. To request materials in another language or in an alternative format, please contact Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan C&L Department at (800) 605-2556.


Referrals to Community Programs and Services

This service is available at no cost to the member. It is important that your patients are referred 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, etc. The C&L department can assist you to locate community organizations and resources that offer culturally sensitive programs and services for your patients.

If you need to refer a patient to a culturally and linguistically appropriate service, please follow these steps:

  1. Refer to the Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan C&L Services Community Resource Directories to locate and recommend the appropriate service.
  2. The Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan C&L Specialist, with the assistance of the UM 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 be notified via fax.

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 (i.e. reception desk, waiting room, exam room, etc.). This poster is translated into LA County's 11 threshold languages and will inform patients that they can receive interpretation services at no cost.

Provider & Staff Language Capability Self Assessment Tool

This tool was developed by health plans to help identify and document bilingual capabilities of practitioners and their staff. It also provides a way for providers and health plans to improve patient/member care and service in a collaborative manner.
It is important that all bilingual 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.

Federal & State C&L Requirements

The following is a guide summarizing the Cultural and Linguistic requirements for the Medi-Cal, and Medicare.


Making Difficult Conversations about Palliative Care Easier and Culturally Sensitive

By Alen Voskanian, MD, MBA, FAAHPM


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