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Provider education and manuals

Tools and materials for professional development and easy administration.

Provider manuals about our policies and programs

Provider manuals about our policies and programs

You can view and download these manuals:

  • Office manual for health care professionals (now including behavioral health)
  • EAP manual
  • Women’s health programs and policies manual
  • Aetna benefits product guide

Educational webinars

Educational webinars

We offer live webinars to make it easier to do business with us. Most webinars are open to all providers, regardless of your participation status.

Committed to cultural competency

Committed to cultural competency

Good health — and a good doctor/patient relationship — begins with understanding your patients' cultural, ethnic, racial and linguistic needs. Watch this presentation to learn more about cultural competence and the important role you play as a provider. 

Slide 1 - Welcome to the Aetna® Cultural Competency Training

Slide 2 – At the end of this training you will be able to:

  • Explain members’ rights in the health care environment
  • Explain your responsibility in providing culturally competent care
  • Explain our commitment to supporting culturally competent care
  • Define cultural humility and health equity
  • Access online courses about culturally appropriate care that’ll help you integrate best practices for health equity and cultural humility in all your clinical interactions
  • Identify Aetna® programs that promote health equity and the delivery of culturally appropriate care

Slide 3 – Understanding member rights is critical to providing culturally competent care.


Slide 4 – Good health begins with a good doctor-patient relationship and members knowing their rights. Our members also have diverse cultural health beliefs, behaviors and needs, and deserve to be treated with:

  • Dignity
  • Respect, and
  • Fairness

Keep in mind, Federal and state laws prohibit unlawful discrimination in the treatment of patients based on:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion
  • Mental or physical disability, and
  • Socioeconomic status ¾ just to name a few

Slide 5 – Cultural factors that impact the doctor-patient relationship and patients’ health care decisions are broad and extremely varied. Common factors may include:

  • Age
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Religion
  • Language
  • Values, and
  • Sexual orientation

But there are also other factors, like:

  • Concepts about modesty
  • Concepts of justice
  • Concepts of cleanliness
  • Interpretations of body language
  • Gender identity, and
  • Personal space preferences ¾ just to name a few that also play a role in the patient’s overall health care experience.

It is important that you remain mindful of these factors as you develop your service delivery strategies.


Slide 6 – Understanding your responsibility in the delivery of culturally appropriate and competent care improves your ability to effectively communicate with your patients and can positively impact their overall health outcomes.

Slide 7 – As a health care professional, you can demonstrate your cultural competence by identifying and understanding the cultural, ethnic, racial and linguistic needs and preferences of your patients and their families.

As an Aetna® provider, you are also responsible for:

  • Recognizing your personal views about others and how they impact your professional interactions
  • Respecting the cultural, ethnic, racial and linguistic needs of your patients
  • Incorporating your patients’ language, race, ethnic and cultural preferences in your service delivery strategies, and
  • Embracing the principles of equal access and nondiscriminatory practices in your service delivery


Slide 8 – To maintain our National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) accreditation, we are required to show how our provider network meets the cultural needs and preferences of our membership.

One way you can help us ensure our networks meet the cultural needs and preferences of our members is by voluntarily identifying your spoken language(s), race and ethnicity.

We hope you’ll join us in making sure our members have access to the most accurate and complete provider demographics by updating your provider profile. To do so, simply log in to our provider portal on Availity® and select the “My Providers” tab on the main navigation bar. Then, choose the Provider Data Management option from the drop-down list and follow the onscreen prompts.


Slide 9 – It is well-known that barriers to culturally appropriate care have an adverse effect on health outcomes. Education empowers and impacts the way people think and talk about cultural humility and health equity. Education also provides the building blocks to address historically driven biases and understand the impact of systemic inequities.

So we’re committed to connecting you ¾ our valued health care partners ¾ to educational support and other tools to enhance your ability to deliver culturally competent care.


Slide 10 – Understanding the importance of cultural humility and health equity in health care can help improve your patients’ overall health care experience and drive positive health outcomes. So exactly what do these terms mean? And how can you apply them to your service care delivery strategy?

Cultural humility is defined as “The ability of organizations, systems and health care professionals to value, respect and respond to diverse cultural health beliefs, behaviors and needs (e.g., social, cultural, linguistic) when providing health care services.”¹

National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). Health equity partner certification. 2023. Available at: Accessed March 7, 2024.

While the term health equity means, “Everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.”2

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. What Is Health Equity? May 1, 2017. Available at: Accessed August 18, 2023.


Slide 11 – As health care disparities among historically underrepresented cultural groups persist in our country, culturally and linguistically appropriate services (also referred to as CLAS) are increasingly recognized as an important strategy for improving quality of care to diverse populations.

To learn more about CLAS and how to deliver culturally competent care, we recommend a series of courses titled “A Physician's Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care.” This free, online educational program is accredited by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.


The courses focus on CLAS-related principles that equip learners with the knowledge, skills and awareness to:

  • Advance health equity in their service delivery strategy
  • Serve all patients, regardless of cultural or linguistic background, and
  • Help eliminate health care disparities in their practice


You can access the course series by going to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website. For a direct link to the program series, please see the accompanying transcript under this video.


Slide 12 – Another useful educational platform available at no cost to in-network providers is The Health Equity Clinical Education Hub. The hub serves as a foundation for tackling barriers to equitable health care access, medications and follow-up, while also addressing the stigma that impedes care for underserved patients.

The hub also provides resources and educational activities to illuminate barriers to equitable health care access issues and empowers health care practitioners with the knowledge and tools they need for everyday interactions with their patients.

You can access the course series by choosing the “Education, trainings and manuals” section under the Resources tab on

Slide 13 – Another aspect of maintaining our NCQA accreditation and demonstrating our ongoing commitment to meeting these standards involves our surveys.

We conduct an annual member outreach campaign using the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Systems (CAHPS) survey. This survey asks members to provide feedback about their satisfaction with their access to care, as well as their in-network providers’ ability to meet their cultural needs and preferences. We use this data to monitor, track and improve upon our members’ experiences.


In addition, we also conduct an annual Physician Satisfaction Survey to ensure we are adequately providing you with tools and resources to meet your patients’ cultural needs. Your feedback is vitally important to us. So upon receipt ¾ by fax or email ¾ we ask that you complete the survey and return it to us by the requested due date.


Slide 14 – To further demonstrate our commitment to supporting our members’ cultural, ethnic, racial and linguistic needs, we also provide members with:

  • Access to translation and interpretation services
  • Access to TTY and TDD services for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, and
  • The option to search for prospective providers using specific criteria such as the language(s) spoken by the provider


We also provide our internal health care professional staff with ongoing cultural competency training to deepen their understanding of the social determinants of health and other disparities among racial and ethnic groups.

Slide 15 – “Culturally appropriate care in action” is our way of defining the programs we’ve developed to support our members’ cultural, ethnic, racial and linguistic needs. These programs use race and ethnicity information we collect from Aetna® members who voluntarily provide it to us to help improve their success rates. A few of our current programs are the Care Consideration℠ program and the Aetna Compassionate Care℠ program.

Slide 16 – Through the Care Consideration℠ program, clinical alerts are sent to physicians and members based on highly respected sources of evidence-based medicine that identify potential gaps in care, medical errors and quality issues.


Examples of Care Consideration alerts include:

  • Screening for liver cancer in Asian and African American/Black adults with hepatitis B.
  • Screening for overweight adults who belong to a racial or ethnic group that is at higher risk for developing diabetes.
  • Screening for breast cancer among Asian/Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander or Native American/Alaska Native women.
  • Identification of patients who may have social determinants of health-related barriers that might benefit (if eligible) from free or discounted resources in their local community.


Slide 17 – The Aetna Compassionate Care℠ program offers service and support to members ¾ and their families ¾ who are facing trying times, such as serious illness and tough health care decisions. The case management component of the program enlists our nurse case managers who provide patients and their families with expanded culturally sensitive case management, including, but not limited to:

  • Arranging for care and managing benefits (including hospice coordination)
  • Helping doctors and other caregivers manage pain and symptoms, and
  • Promoting coordination among doctors

In addition, we also offer culturally sensitive advanced care planning information and tools that can be accessed through a nurse case manager or the member website on A few examples of the information and tools that patients can access on the site include:

  • Translation services for non-English-speaking members
  • Social workers who have tools for community and government resources, and
  • Final wish documents

Slide 18 – Thank you for taking the time to learn about cultural competence and how a thoughtful service delivery strategy that acknowledges your patients’ cultural, ethnic, racial and linguistic needs and preferences can help improve their health care experience. As we close out the training, we invite you to take a moment to view this short video titled “Cultural Awareness for Healthcare Professionals” to hear directly from patients about the importance of cultural competence in the health care environment. You can access the link for the video at the top of the page. Once the video ends, you can close the page and exit the course.

Slide 19 – (end presentation)

©2024 Aetna Inc.

Better communication, better patient care

Better communication, better patient care

Communication among health care professionals can lead to better outcomes for patients, and you might have questions about how to discuss sensitive topics.

Aetna Smart Compare program

The Aetna Smart Compare designation helps give our members more information to help them choose a practice for themselves and their families. For complete program information including overview guides and frequently asked questions, visit the Aetna Smart Compare page.

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