Sharing our Qualified Bilingual Staff Model and Training Program
With increasing linguistic diversity in the United States and Kaiser Permanente, being able to communicate effectively with our membership in their preferred language is paramount to ensuring quality health care and equity. Toward that end, Kaiser Permanente turned to its own workforce for practical solutions. In the early 2000s, Kaiser Permanente developed the Qualified Bilingual Staff model and proposed a labor and management partnership to fully embrace and implement this workforce development strategy.
Since then, thousands of health care bilingual employees have been trained through the QBS program. And now, Kaiser Permanente is sharing the award-winning program with other health systems and offering a 40-hour train-the-trainer course.
In the past year, Kaiser Permanente partnered with Adventist HealthCare and the Maryland Hospital Association to replicate the training course throughout the State of Maryland. The training attracted five Maryland hospital systems; the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services; and two other Kaiser Permanente regions, Colorado and Georgia. And last March, we provided the QBS curriculum to the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services for the first of what will be semiannual trainings of bilingual staff throughout the state.
Meanwhile, we continue to further disseminate the QBS program within Kaiser Permanente, where evidence of the program’s contributions to improve equity, quality, and affordability are strong testaments to the value of employee diversity.