Community House Calls Program
To contribute to the health and well-being of refugee and immigrant patients, families and communities through a partnership that promotes culturally competent care.
Community House Calls (CHC) is a program of Harborview Medical Center’s (HMC) Interpreter Services. Community House Calls serves limited English proficient patients, families and communities who receive health care at HMC. Bilingual/bicultural caseworker/cultural mediators provide same language services for patients facing complex medical and social circumstances and serve as liaisons to their respective communities.
Community House Calls began in 1994 when doctors Ellie Graham and Carey Jackson were jointly awarded a Robert Wood Johnson grant to help address barriers to health care for refugees and immigrants receiving care at HMC. The program initially targeted four language groups: Amharic, Cambodian, Somali and Tigrigna speakers, and caseworker/cultural mediators (CCM) were then hired from each of these groups with hiring advice from community leaders. An intensive orientation followed hiring. In 1996, CHC became a Harborview program in the Interpreter Services department, and Vietnamese and Spanish speaking CCMs and a nurse supervisor were added to the staff
Services available to patients
- Find resources for social issues that impact the health of patients, such as immigration concerns, job searches and enrolling in English for citizenship classes.
- Advocacy for patients in healthcare, social service, school and agency settings.
- Facilitation of Medicaid-eligible patients
- Coordination of patient care, including arranging transportation
- Help with forms and applications
- Health education
Services available to providers
- Cultural mediation, including facilitating clinical encounters that involve cultural differences
- Cultural consultation about issues affecting patient care
- Didactic presentations providing cultural information about a variety of topics, such as health beliefs, traditional health practices, explaining diagnoses to patients, end-of-life issues and parenting practices
providers about cultural issues surrounding their clients care
Services available to the community
- Case workers also respond to requests for education about tuberculosis, cancer, asthma, depression, HIV/AIDS and other topics.
- Beyond Medical Interpretation: The Role of Interpreter Cultural Mediators (ICMs) A manual describing the work of Community House Calls in building bridges between ethnic communities and health institutions. Revised in 1998, 41 pages.
- Powerpoint presentation about CHC
Publications referencing the Community House Calls Program
- ELIMINATING DISPARITIES IN CARE: Improving Care by Bridging Gaps Between Expectations and Practices of Patients and Providers The American Hospital Association (AHA) highlights Community House Calls as a case study example from the field.
- Ending Neglect: The Elimination of Tuberculosis in the U.S. describes a public health TB outreach program based on House Calls caseworker model. Pages: 197-199.
Handbook of Immigrant Health edited by Sana Loue; Pages: 73-75; 179-180
- Immigrant Medicine edited by Patricia Walker, William Stauffer, Elizabeth Barnett, James Jaranson; Pages: 65-66
Community House Calls
Harborview Medical Center
Box 359977 Seattle, WA 98104
phone: 206 744-9256
fax: 206 744-9981