Select Health Earns Recognition for Multicultural Health Care Excellence from NCQA

Select Health of South Carolina and its First Choice Medicaid health plan have once again received the Multicultural Health Care Distinction from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). Select Health is part of AmeriHealth Caritas Family of Companies. AmeriHealth Caritas is a majority-owned subsidiary of Independence Blue Cross; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan holds a minority interest.

Select Health was recognized by the NCQA as an “early adopter” of Multicultural Health Care Distinction standards in 2010.  The next year, it became one of the first seven health plans in America to formally receive this prestigious accolade. With renewal, Select Health is currently one of eight Medicaid plans in the country and the only one in South Carolina to hold the distinction, which is valid through May 2015.

NCQA distinction recognizes Select Health as a leader in the delivery of culturally appropriate care and services to diverse populations. Select Health’s efforts include accessible language services, specialized training for its employees and providers and innovative programs aimed at reducing health care disparities.

“We are proud to be a pioneer in multicultural health care,” said Select Health Executive Director Cindy Helling. “We know the positive impact this approach has had in serving the diverse needs of our members and are pleased to be recognized for our continued efforts to address cultural barriers to care.”

NCQA is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA is committed to providing health care quality information for consumers, purchasers, health care providers and researchers.

The Multicultural Health Care Distinction program evaluates how well an organization complies with standards in the following areas:

  • Collection of race/ethnicity and language data;
  • Provision of language assistance;
  • Cultural responsiveness;
  • Quality improvement of culturally and linguistically appropriate services, and
  • Reduction of health care disparities 

NCQA awards the distinction to organizations that meet or exceed its rigorous requirements for multicultural health care.

“The prevalence of racial and ethnic disparities has been a barrier to improving the quality of health care of many Americans for too long,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “Organizations achieving Multicultural Health Care Distinction are leaders in closing this gap, and NCQA commends them for their dedication.”

Select Health also has been named as a finalist for the PR News Corporate Social Responsibility Award for diversity communications two years in a row. Most recently, in 2013, PR News recognized Select Health for a campaign to boost cervical cancer screening rates with communications customized for different racial and ethnic groups.

“We strive for a better understanding of our members so we can fully meet their health care needs,” said Jill Lemay, coordinator for culturally and linguistically appropriate services at Select Health. “When we tailor services and information in a culturally sensitive way, we are more effective and more likely to engage our members so they can be proactive with their health.”

For more information about Select Health’s commitment to culturally competent health care, visit