To advance health equity and ensure the delivery of culturally respectful and linguistically responsive health services, the Oregon Legislature mandated cultural competency continuing education for health care professionals starting July 1, 2021. Under the requirement, Oregon health care professionals must complete cultural competency continuing education as a condition of licensure.
Oregon health care professionals whose license is at a practicing status must meet this requirement. The only exceptions are providers in residency training and volunteer camps. Providers with a “retired” status do not have to meet the requirement because their license is not at a practicing status.
Providers must complete an average of at least one hour of cultural competency education per year during an audit period. An audit period is two renewal cycles, for example, every four years for most providers. Required hours will be based on the number of years licensed during the audit period; any portion of a year licensed will require one hour of cultural competency education. For example, a provider who has been licensed for 3.5 years during the audit period will be required to obtain four hours of cultural competency education. Hours may be obtained at any time during the audit period. For example, either one four-hour experience, or four one-hour courses taken annually, would satisfy the requirement.
The cultural competency continuing education may, but does not have to, be accredited continuing medical education (CME). The law was written to allow a wide array of courses or experiences, which may include: courses delivered in-person or electronically, experiential or service learning, cultural or linguistic immersion, volunteering in a rural clinic, completing an employer’s cultural competency training, attending an event with members of an underserved community to discuss health care access issues, or courses approved by the Oregon Health Authority.
In addition to the courses listed by the Oregon Health Authority, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services offers a free online program that includes up to 9 CME credits. For more information visit Education – Think Cultural Health (hhs.gov).
Providers may track educational hours on an OMB record keeping form. During license renewal (annually or biennially depending on the license), providers will attest to completing the required hours by checking a box and reporting the number of hours obtained. The OMB will audit for compliance every other renewal cycle with the first audit being conducted during the Fall 2023 renewal cycle. The cultural competency audit will be included within the existing audit for CME compliance. Beginning in 2023 and every other renewal cycle thereafter, audited providers will be asked to also produce documentation of their cultural competency educational experiences. Documentation may be a course certificate, the OMB record keeping form, or other documentation.
For more information regarding cultural competency requirements for Oregon providers, please visit Oregon Medical Board page on Oregon.gov.
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