Mind the Language Gap:Access to Health Care for Language Minorities (7)nging population have put the issue of linguistically and culturally competent care in the spotlight.
Massachusetts ED Interpreter Bill [Effective July 1, 2001]
Section 25J. Every acute-care hospital shall provide competent professional interpreter services in connection with all emergency room services and acute inpatient psychiatric services provided to a non-English- speaker or person who has difficulty in speaking or understanding the English language.
Section 3c. Any non-English- speaker who is denied effective health care services by a health care provider by reason of the provider’s not providing competent professional interpreter services should have a right of action in a superior court.
Governmental units are to reimburse the cost of interpreters for any mandated provider.
Critical Institutional Responses toLanguage Barriers
Documentation of language status of patient in IS; chart documentation of method of interpretation used
Organized Interpreter Services Department with training activity for hospital staff and interpreters; notification of rights for pts
Monitor outcome measures by language status
Might Language Competence Facilitate Cultural Competence?
Skills training viz language may invite and synergize with efforts to learn content and change attitudes while starting with a less threatening set of goals
Interpreter Services Department often catalyze/lead organizational efforts at CC
Methodology of organization’s approach to language-based disparities can model approach to other areas of disparities and growth potential
References and Bibliography
See NCIHC website [ National Council on Interpreting in Health Care], www. ncihc.org
www.calendow.org for annotated bibliography August 2003
Massachusetts Department of Public Health: Best Practice Recommendations for Hospital-Based Interpreter Services http://www.mass.gov/dph/omh/interp/interpreter.htm
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