Distinction in Multicultural Health Care Requirements


NCQA Distinction in Multicultural Health Care is earned by meeting a set of requirements found in the Standards and Guidelines document. These include, but are not limited to:

Race/Ethnicity & Language Data

  • Collect members’ ethnicity/language data.
  • Use a validated methodology to estimate ethnic population percentages based on reported data.
  • Use a system of effective data storage and retrieval for ethnic and linguistic information.
  • Report the HEDIS® Diversity of Membership measures.
  • Identify “threshold languages” spoken by 5% of the membership (or 1,000 members, whichever population is smaller).

Language Services

  • Demonstrate use of competent translators; provide timely, high-quality translation of materials.
  • Provide practitioners with data on the language preferences of their patients; train them on providing language services; offer language assistance resources.
  • Regularly notify members of the availability of language services.

Practitioner Network Cultural Responsiveness

  • Collect and publish information on the languages contracted providers speak fluently, or languages for which translation services are offered.
  • Collect and disclose provider race/ethnicity data upon request.
  • Analyze the provider network’s ability to serve members’ language needs and develop ways to address gaps.

CLAS Standards Program

  • Adopt a program description or work plan listing measurable goals for reducing disparities that ethnic and linguistic minorities experience, and include plans to monitor and evaluate services against measurable goals.
  • Conduct an annual analysis of activities to achieve performance improvement in reducing disparities, evaluate progress and trending in measurable outcomes.

Reducing Health Care Disparities

  • Collect, report and analyze clinical quality and patient experience measures by race, ethnicity and primary language, and compare outcomes.
  • Target interventions to improve disparities in relevant care measures, and continually evaluate their effectiveness.

Find the standards for NCQA Distinction in Multicultural Health Care in the Standards and Guidelines document.


NCQA Distinction in Multicultural Health Care is available to many types of organizations that perform functions specified in the standards and guidelines, or that arrange for services to be performed directly or through an agreement; for example:

  • Managed health care.
  • Population health management.
  • Disease management.
  • Wellness.
  • Managed behavioral healthcare.

Find full eligibility criteria in the Standards and Guidelines document.

How NCQA Awards Distinction

NCQA evaluates an organization’s performance against the standards and calculates a total score.

Distinction is based on compliance with NCQA standards and elements.

NCQA awards a separate distinction decision to each product line/product/program brought forward by the organization.

Maintaining Distinction

NCQA Distinction in Multicultural Health Care is awarded for 2 years.

Every 2 years, organizations must complete another agreement, submit all requisite fees and undergo a full survey to renew their distinction status.

When the organization receives its survey results, NCQA assigns a date for the next required survey.

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