Recently passed legislation will require, as of January 1, 2022, that physicians, nurses, and physician practice assistants receive implicit bias training as part of their licensing requirements.
The Medical Practices Act governs the licensure of physicians. The Nursing Practices act governs the licensure of nurses. The Physician Assistant Practice Act governs the licensure of physician assistant.
The proposed law requires that the respective licensing agencies for these healthcare practices include continuing education requirements on the topic of implicit bias.
- “Implicit bias, meaning the attitudes or internalized stereotypes that affect our perceptions, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner, exists, and often contributes to unequal treatment of people based on race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, and other characteristics.
- Implicit bias contributes to health disparities by affecting the behavior of physicians and surgeons, nurses, physician assistants, and other healing arts licensees.”
The law adds other reasons why implicit bias in these healthcare professions must be addressed.
Starting January 1, 2022, continuing medical education courses (CME) should cover the following issues:
- Cultural competency. “Cultural competency means a set of integrated attitudes, knowledge, and skills that enables a health care professional or organization to care effectively for patients from diverse cultures, groups, and communities.” Instruction on cultural competency should include:
- “Applying linguistic skills to communicate effectively with the target population.
- Utilizing cultural information to establish therapeutic relationships.
- Eliciting and incorporating pertinent cultural data in diagnosis and treatment.
- Understanding and applying cultural and ethnic data to the process of clinical care, including, as appropriate, information pertinent to the appropriate treatment of, and provision of care to, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex communities.”
- Linguistic competency. For the purposes of this section, linguistic competency essentially means that when patients don’t speak English or don’t speak it well, the physician or surgeon should aim to speak with the patient in the patient’s primary language.
- A review and explanation of relevant federal and state laws and regulations regarding linguistic access…”
CME courses should also address at least one or a combination of the following:
- Examples of how implicit bias affects the perceptions and treatment decisions of physicians and surgeons – which can lead to disparities in health outcomes.
- Strategies to address how unintended biases in decision making may contribute to health care disparities which can affect different medical treatments based on race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics.
Other conditions and requirements also apply.
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