Oscar Arocha and Martin Conroy of Language Line Services share their views on providing written information to hospital patients in their native languages in this article from HealthcareITNews. The piece is from an ongoing series about the new Joint Commission standards on language access requirements for limited English proficient patients.
“Until now, the majority of the guidance on written communication has called for ‘significant’ documents to be translated into the languages most in demand,” writes Arocha, senior executive of global strategic initiatives, and Conroy, senior manager for public sector programs. “The definition of what constitutes a ‘significant’ (or ‘vital’) document has been left to the hospital’s discretion. Some states already require hospitals that receive Medicaid or any other type of government funding to ask patients about their preferred written language when registering them. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, among other states, introduced this as a requirement in 2009, but agreed to push it back when hospitals asked for an extension.”