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Assemblymember Valencia’s bill addressing linguistic inequities in healthcare receives bipartisan support in the Assembly

For immediate release:

Sacramento – Members of the Assembly voted to overwhelmingly pass AB 470 by Assemblymember Avelino Valencia (D-Anaheim), which aims to expand cultural medical equity.

This bill updates the general criteria continuing medical education (CME) courses must meet to encourage physicians to participate in educational activities, such as foreign language classes, that improve physician-patient communication. AB 470 also specifies that associations that accredit CME courses may update their standards for cultural and linguistic competency in conjunction with an advisory group that is informed of federal and state threshold language requirements.

As California is a minority-majority state, it is essential that healthcare professionals are able to communicate with patients from diverse backgrounds.

“Our State has a disparity between the number of physicians who speak foreign languages and patient populations whose first language is not English,” said Assemblymember Valencia. “I am pleased to carry legislation that will ensure that patients whose primary language is not English are receiving appropriate and culturally competent medical care.”

“Good communication is key to good health and to ensure patients receive the highest quality of care, it is essential to address the unique cultural and language differences of California’s diverse communities,” said Donaldo M. Hernandez, MD, FACP, president of the California Medical Association. “The California Medical Association is proud to partner with Assemblymember Avelino Valencia on AB 470 to affirm the importance of cultural competency and language fluency in continuing medical education (CME) and of keeping CME standards that guide curriculum development on culturally and linguistically competent care updated on a frequent basis.”

“Having access to a doctor that speaks your language is the type of quality care patients deserve and need, now more than ever,” said Dr. Olga Ventura, AltaMed. “We are excited to be working with Assemblymember Valencia on this important measure to advance language and cultural competency to better serve our most vulnerable patients and truly address the health disparities we are experiencing in our state.”

AB 470 is a Latino Caucus priority bill and passed the Assembly 79-0. The bill is now waiting for policy committee referral in the Senate.