in Health Care Settings
While most Latinos speak English and believe that English competency is a necessity for success in the United States, there is a portion of the Latino population that needs language support systems while learning the language. Current language access regulations are not enforced, causing a barrier to those seeking quality health care. Medical forms are rarely translated, including the forms to enter federal programs, such as Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Additionally, there is a lack of professional translators, well versed in medical terminology.
The pervasive lack of translated materials and interpreter services at health facilities, despite legal obligations requiring language access at health entities receiving federal funding often forces children to serve as interpreters for their families, and places them in inappropriate settings. To protect the nation’s public health and to guard against medical errors, it is critical that as individuals learn English, they have access to language services that will help them better access and understand the health services they support with their tax dollars.
NCLR PositionLanguage barriers are often cited as a main reason impeding access to health care and services. The implementation and enforcement of strong LEP guidance ensures that individuals who are learning English have equitable access to the health care system they support with their health dollars. Furthermore, NCLR encourages the federal government to construct systems of support to aid the development of a culturally-competent, multi-lingual medical force
The Latest News on Language Access in Health Care
- "Taking Health Care to the Communities Where It's Most Needed" – July 22, 2008
- "Opinion: Buen Salud!" – June 30, 2008
- "Translating the Medical System" – May 5, 2008
- "Language, Cultural Barriers Persist in Access to Care for New York Hispanics, Report Finds" – April 30, 2008
- Doctors Not Nearly as Diverse as the Valley - April 18, 2008