Injured Workers' Perceptions of Service Provider Cultural Competence and Return to Work: A Phenomenological Study

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Although workers’ compensation mandates equal healthcare access for injured workers for a compensable accidental injury claim, identified healthcare disparities include lower treatment costs, lower disability ratings, and less compensated time off work for African American claimants than for White claimants. Cultural competence has gained focus in the United States as a means to eliminate healthcare disparities and improve healthcare outcomes. To date, no direct link has been established between providing culturally competent healthcare and reducing or eliminating healthcare disparities or improving healthcare outcomes. The purpose of this presentation is to discuss moving beyond cultural competence theory and exploring the impact of culturally competent interventions on intermediary and ultimate healthcare outcomes. The study used the theoretical framework for the Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) and Work Hardening Program (WHP) presented by Matheson (1995, 1997, 2003) and the conceptual framework for cultural competence presented by Campinha-Bacote (2002, 2003) with a sample of 19 injured African American workers in the state of Maryland. The objective was to explore and to identify injured workers’ perceptions of service provider cultural competence during participation in the Work Hardening Program and any influences on the outcome of return to work and to discuss cultural competence as defined by injured African American workers. The study also explores cultural competence from the perspective of racial concordance theory. Healthcare leadership could use the increased knowledge gained from the current study about healthcare disparities and culturally competent healthcare to assist injured workers in returning to work while also considering the overall costs to the workers’ compensation system. Additionally, gaining injured workers’ perspective on cultural competence could facilitate efforts by healthcare organizations to develop tools for assessing cultural competence, and subsequently to provide necessary training or policy and procedure modification to incorporate institutional cultural competence.

Keywords: Cultural Competence, Culture, Race, Healthcare Access, Healthcare Outcomes, African Americans, Healthcare Disparities
Stream: Disability, Health
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Injured Workers’ Perceptions of Service Provider Cultural Competence and Return to Work

Dr. Sonya M. Sconiers

Manager, Administration, SONAM GROUP, LLC
Washington, DC, USA

Dr. Sconiers is a seasoned Health Administration Executive with over 25 years of progressive accomplishment and specialized expertise in research and policy implementation. Dr. Sconiers specializes in cultural diversity and cultural competence issues related to healthcare. Entry into the healthcare arena began as a registered and licensed occupational therapist, earning increasing responsibility and success in administrative and clinical management roles. Educational experience includes receiving a Doctor of Health Administration degree from University of Phoenix Online, a Master's degree in Physical Therapy from Texas Woman's University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. Sconiers excels in analyzing inefficiencies and developing quality improvement campaigns that consistently boost revenue. Achievements include serving as a youth mentor through education and through movement and dance and developing a health careers program for honors high school students.

Ref: D08P0432