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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS): At a Glance
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This report recommends national standards for culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS) in health care. Based on an analytical review of key laws, regulations, contracts, and standards currently in use by Federal and State agencies and other national organizations, these standards were developed and refined with significant input from a nationwide public comment process and the guidance of two national project advisory committees.

Part I of this report provides background on the importance of cultural competence in health care in the United States, reviews the role and interest of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its Office of Minority Health in cultural competence, and briefly summarizes the process of developing national standards for CLAS in health care. It also explains the purpose, intended audience of and organizing principles behind the standards; reviews the most important general comments received on the standards; and discusses the implications of the CLAS standards for the U.S. health care system. Part I ends with recommendations for actions that could be taken in the public and private sector to facilitate implementation of the CLAS standards.

Part II, which is the main section of the report, contains the 14 CLAS standards. In this section, each standard is accompanied by commentary that defines key concepts and issues and a discussion section that provides an overview of critical implementation issues.

Part III of the report summarizes the process for developing and revising the CLAS standards over 3 years. The Methodology and Analysis section briefly reviews stage one of the process (1997-1999), describes in more detail stage two of the process (1999-2001), and summarizes the changes made to individual standards based on the analysis of public comments and input from the National Project Advisory Committee.

Part IV presents a glossary of terms found within the standards. It also contains a bibliography of all sources used in preparing this final report.

Attached Appendices include rosters of those who attended the three regional meetings held during the public comment period of the CLAS Standards’ development. The National Project Advisory Committee (NPAC) membership is also presented. (Office of Minority Health)
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