Expanding services to diverse patients
From Spotlight on Health Mar./Apr. 2007
Veronica Botello greets patients at CentraCare Clinic-Melrose.
Veronica Botello, 28, understands the concerns of the CentraCare Clinic - Melrose patients who speak only Spanish. She was in their shoes just six years ago when she moved to the community.
Since that time, Veronica has learned English and is a welcoming face at the clinic’s reception desk several days a week.
“I truly enjoy visiting with the patients and know that I can make a difference for them when they come to the clinic,” said Botello.
On occasion, Botello will accompany patients to the rooms to translate the conversation between the providers and the patients.
In addition to Botello, CentraCare Clinic - Melrose Drs. Mary Schwieters and Dante Beretta also speak Spanish. The clinic works with interpreters and a language line to assist with translation of other languages as needed.
CentraCare Clinic sites in Melrose and Long Prairie are two of more than 25 Minnesota primary care clinics participating in a two-year Cultural Competency Initiative. This initiative, led by Stratis Health, which is Minnesota’s Medicare Quality Improvement Organization, is designed to prepare health care staff to become more effective and culturally aware of how they provide care to diverse populations.
As part of this initiative, both clinic sites offer Spanish classes to staff as well as ongoing education about various cultures at employee staff meetings.
Anand Shah, M.D., and his wife, Avani, are from India and shared information about the Hindu culture with Long Prairie staff.
“The staff is very interested in learning about different cultures,” said Toni Tebben, site coordinator.
System-wide, CentraCare has developed an educational program and booklet to educate staff on the growing variety of cultures and accompanying beliefs that staff may be introduced to through their patients. Staff also participate in various community initiatives and share information from their own cultures or experiences.
As the face of the community changes, CentraCare continues to work hard to meet the changing health care needs in the area.