Code Section Group

Business and Professions Code - BPC

DIVISION 2. HEALING ARTS [500 - 4999.129]

  ( Division 2 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 399. )

CHAPTER 5. Medicine [2000 - 2529.6]

  ( Chapter 5 repealed and added by Stats. 1980, Ch. 1313, Sec. 2. )

ARTICLE 10.5. Cultural and Linguistic Competency of Physicians Act of 2003 [2198 - 2198.1]
  ( Article 10.5 added by Stats. 2003, Ch. 510, Sec. 3. )


(a) This article shall be known and may be cited as the Cultural and Linguistic Competency of Physicians Act of 2003. The cultural and linguistic physician competency program is hereby established and shall be operated by local medical societies of the California Medical Association and shall be monitored by the Division of Licensing.

(b) This program shall be a voluntary program for all interested physicians. As a primary objective, the program shall consist of educational classes which shall be designed to teach physicians the following:

(1) A foreign language at the level of proficiency that initially improves their ability to communicate with non-English speaking patients.

(2) A foreign language at the level of proficiency that eventually enables direct communication with the non-English speaking patients.

(3) Cultural beliefs and practices that may impact patient health care practices and allow physicians to incorporate this knowledge in the diagnosis and treatment of patients who are not from the predominate culture in California.

(c) The program shall operate through local medical societies and shall be developed to address the ethnic language minority groups of interest to local medical societies.

(d) In dealing with Spanish language and cultural practices of Mexican immigrant communities, the cultural and linguistic training program shall be developed with direct input from physician groups in Mexico who serve the same immigrant population in Mexico. A similar approach may be used for any of the languages and cultures that are taught by the program or appropriate ethnic medical societies may be consulted for the development of these programs.

(e) Training programs shall be based and developed on the established knowledge of providers already serving target populations and shall be formulated in collaboration with the California Medical Association, the Division of Licensing, and other California-based ethnic medical societies.

(f) Programs shall include standards that identify the degree of competency for participants who successfully complete independent parts of the course of instruction.

(g) Programs shall seek accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.

(h) The Division of Licensing shall convene a workgroup including, but not limited to, representatives of affected patient populations, medical societies engaged in program delivery, and community clinics to perform the following functions:

(1) Evaluation of the progress made in the achievement of the intent of this article.

(2) Determination of the means by which achievement of the intent of this article can be enhanced.

(3) Evaluation of the reasonableness and the consistency of the standards developed by those entities delivering the program.

(4) Determination and recommendation of the credit to be given to participants who successfully complete the identified programs. Factors to be considered in this determination shall include, at a minimum, compliance with requirements for continuing medical education and eligibility for increased rates of reimbursement under Medi-Cal, the Healthy Families Program, and health maintenance organization contracts.

(i) Funding shall be provided by fees charged to physicians who elect to take these educational classes and any other funds that local medical societies may secure for this purpose.

(j) A survey for language minority patients shall be developed and distributed by local medical societies, to measure the degree of satisfaction with physicians who have taken the educational classes on cultural and linguistic competency provided under this section. Local medical societies shall also develop an evaluation survey for physicians to assess the quality of educational or training programs on cultural and linguistic competency. This information shall be shared with the workgroup established by the Division of Licensing.

(Added by Stats. 2003, Ch. 510, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2004.)


For purposes of this article, “cultural and linguistic competency” means cultural and linguistic abilities that can be incorporated into therapeutic and medical evaluation and treatment, including, but not limited to, the following:

(a) Direct communication in the patient-client primary language.

(b) Understanding and applying the roles that culture, ethnicity, and race play in diagnosis, treatment, and clinical care.

(c) Awareness of how the health care providers and patients attitudes, values, and beliefs influence and impact professional and patient relations.

(Added by Stats. 2003, Ch. 510, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2004.)

BPCBusiness and Professions Code - BPC10.5.