CHP’s mission of bringing affordable medical care to all means more than just opening up clinics in convenient locations and offering a sliding scale for payment. With a growing population comes growing language diversity. And Spanish is the most widely spoken non-English language in the Gallatin Valley. As the harm of language barriers in healthcare is clear, CHP wants to get rid of the problem of misunderstanding. By providing bilingual and multicultural resources, we can work together to find a way to better healthcare.
It starts with hiring. CHP has been purposely hiring bilingual/bicultural staff where we see most of our Spanish-speaking patients. That includes the clinics in Belgrade, Bozeman, and West Yellowstone. Putting bilingual providers in the places of greatest need is a deliberate choice to help serve more.
CHP strives to help current staff grow and flourish, too. We’ve created a path for bilingual staff to study to become certified medical interpreters. One member of the Belgrade staff has already used this route to expand their skill set and help patients from a wide range of backgrounds.
Providing more services to Spanish-speaking Montanans doesn’t end with staff. CHP has also been laying the groundwork for bilingual resources in every clinic, creating medical information and forms in Spanish. Clarity and understanding in medicine are just a page away.
CHP actively works with coalitions and local groups that advocate for Spanish-speaking and other new immigrant populations. Advocacy in the medical field can only happen if we start with society at large.
And within CHP, we hope to advocate for patients to access services. These programs include Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), housing assistance, the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) supplementary food program, and Montana’s Food Stamp program. Our trained staff can also help you apply for health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace. For patients who are parents, our Resource Coordinators can help you complete applications for daycare scholarships, child support, and school documentation.
Spanish-speaking patients are able to work with bilingual staff and advocates who can help them understand their options and access these services as well—services in the community that, without that support in Spanish, they would have difficulty accessing.
CHP worked to establish a Promotores de Salud program, which trains interested members of the Spanish-speaking community in health education topics—no healthcare background required. They then take what they learn back and present to small groups within the Spanish-speaking community. The goal is to help promote good health, wellness, and preventative care.
This was especially important during recent COVID-19 prevention efforts. As information changes from day to day, it can be hard to keep up even without a language barrier. This program has since transferred to the Gallatin City-County Health Department.
If you have questions about how to access affordable healthcare—no matter the language you speak—reach out to your nearest CHP clinic. With sites in Bozeman, Belgrade, Livingston and West Yellowstone, CHP is on a mission to provide quality care across Southwest Montana.