Regulations for Federally Funded Health Care Providers in Regards to Language Access:
There’re at least 350 languages spoken in homes spanning across the United States. People from all over the world pour into this country everyday with hopes and dreams of establishing a life for themselves in the land of opportunity. With such an influx of diversity and languages spoken, healthcare facilities are in need of effective language services and language access plans in order to provide meaningful access to patients regardless of where they may come from. Providing meaningful access means complying with Section 1557 of the civil rights provision of the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Section 1557 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs and activities receiving funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Section 1557 States the Following:
- An individual with limited English proficiency (LEP) is a person whose primary language for communication is not English and who has a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English.
- Reasonable steps may include the provision of language assistance services, such as oral language assistance or written translation.
- Covered entities are required to post a notice of individuals’ rights providing information about communication assistance and interpretation services for individuals with limited English proficiency.
- Covered entities are prohibited from using low-quality video remote interpreting services or relying on unqualified staff, when providing language assistance services.
- Covered entities are encouraged to develop and implement a language access plan to ensure they are prepared to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to each individual that may require assistance.
Non-compliance can leave you in trouble with the law as well as leave your hospital or medical facility open to malpractice. “Interpretation Services Can Help in Preventing Medical Malpractice,” explains how not providing language services puts your LEP patients at risk of not receiving the vital care they need. A lack of necessary language services left 18 year old Willie Ramirez a quadriplegic, a condition he will deal with for the rest of his life. Finding solutions and implementing strategies in order to break down language barriers is the only way to protect LEP individuals rights.
Follow the Road to Meaningful Access by Partnering with a Language Service Provider:
Healthcare providers must meet meaningful access obligations and this can be achieved by partnering with a language service provider. Providing your LEP patients with the most comprehensive language services to support communication and understanding can help in allowing medical staff to provide LEP patients with the superior care they deserve. Section 1557 states, relying on an unqualified person or staff member to act as an interpreter is prohibited. “Interpretation Services Provided by Children and Family Members,” explains while these individuals may be proficient in both source and target languages, they’re not trained in the profession and that can lead to poor patient care, missed information and details, or in extreme cases even death. A medical interpreter has full command of both languages used, cultural awareness, a general medical understanding, knowledge of medical terminology, and the ability to facilitate communication between people who do not speak the same language.
If communication is not clear and language barriers are not fully bridged, patient care is compromised, errors are made, and adverse consequences can potentially be faced due to miscommunication. The implementation of a high quality language access plan provided by a language service provider can help your medical staff better care for it’s LEP patients. Niki’s Int’l Ltd. is a language service provider with 20 years of experience in the language service industry. A partnership with Niki’s Int’l Ltd. can gain you access to a network of qualified medical interpreters available in over 350 language and dialects, who can help you stay compliant with the regulations established under Section 1557. Language services such as on-site interpretation, telephone interpretation and high quality video remote interpretation (VRI) are offered to help in accommodating LEP patients. “Comparing On-Site, VRI and Telephonic Interpretation Services for Hospital Use,” discusses the various services and explains how language services can break down communication barriers and provide clear and accurate understanding for LEP patients. Your language service provider will help in setting up a customized language access plan that can be utilized by medical staff in your facility, these language services are easily accessed and available 24 hours a day seven days a weeks through on-demand telephonic or video remote interpretation services. Providing meaningful access can be easily done by partnering with a language service provider, contact Niki’s Int’l Ltd. and get started on your language access plan in order to better care for your LEP patients today.
Niki’s Int’l Ltd. is a WBENC-Certified Women Business Enterprise with 20 years of language service experience. A global network of highly skilled interpreters and translators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for on-site, telephonic and video remote interpretation services. Our linguists are available in over 350 languages and dialects, and our network includes certified interpreters and translators. Our work is guaranteed with a $1 Million Errors & Omissions policy, so that you can be confident that your project will be completed with the highest level of quality and professionalism within the field. For more information contact us at 1-877-567-8449 or visit our website at www.nilservices.com.