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Language Training for Medical Staff Can Keep Health Care from Getting Lost in Translation

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on September 13, 2018

A non-English-speaking mother-to-be arrives at a hospital to give birth, unaware that her pregnancy is high-risk. The clinic where she had her pre-natal appointments did not use professional interpreters. Instead the clinic relied on the serious news being conveyed by the woman’s sister-in-law, who did not have the heart to explain the diagnosis. The woman is told at the hospital that her child will not make it.

A 9-year-old Vietnamese girl arrives at the emergency room with what appears to be a severe stomach flu. The girls’ parents do not speak English. Instead of using a professional interpreter, hospital staff instead speaks only to the girl and her 16-year-old brother about her prescription, sending them home with instructions that the girl should return if she experiences specific side effects. The girl ends up having a negative reaction to the drug. She suffers a heart attack and dies.

These real-life outcomes seem as if they should have happened in days gone by. Sadly, these events took place recently. Even worse, they are not uncommon despite readily available on-demand language services.

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What Does Meaningful Access Really Mean?­­

Posted by Greg Holt on August 30, 2017

Nearly all government agencies and organizations that receive federal funds are required by law to provide limited-English-proficient (LEP) persons “meaningful access” to their services.

What exactly does that mean?  Where did this requirement come from?

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Could Your Organization Benefit from Video Remote Interpreting? Ask Yourself These Questions.

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on August 2, 2017

One in five of our neighbors here in the United States speak a language other than English at home. That’s more than 61 million people – 25 million of whom say they speak English less than well. Another 28 million Americans are deaf or hard of hearing.

The influence of these diverse audiences is enormous and growing. They are citizens, patients, and consumers. Meeting them in their preferred language builds loyalty, achieves compliance, and increases staff productivity while reducing expenses. The opportunities are clear, but the challenge is that – with hundreds of languages spoken in America today – it is very difficult for any organization to meet this demand.

Video remote interpreting (VRI) is an on-demand platform that provides communication to limited English proficient, deaf, or hard-of-hearing individuals by connecting to a professional interpreter in an offsite location. This is done via camera and microphone on a tablet, smart phone, or desktop, using an Internet or cellular connection. VRI reduces the risk of misunderstanding by capturing body language and facial expressions to read visual cues.

Before implementing VRI, your organization should discuss the needs of your audience and how video will fit into your language access plan. Take the time to have this discussion with your front-line staff and any other key stakeholders. Here are a few questions to prompt discussion:

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Case Study: Providing Language Access to a Swelling Immigrant Population

Posted by Sherri Gallant on July 10, 2017

Alberta Health Services provides health care and promotes wellness to a diverse community of 4.1 million residents in Alberta, Canada. AHS is Canada’s first and largest province-wide, fully integrated health system. It is comprised of 106 acute-care hospitals, almost 8,500 acute care beds, and nearly 24,000 continuing care beds. In all, programs and services are offered at over 650 facilities throughout the province.

All of this is to keep up with the fact that Alberta is Canada’s fastest-growing province. In 2014, Alberta's population-growth rate was more than twice the national average (2.9% vs. 1.1%, respectively).

 Alberta is also extremely diverse. From 2000 to 2015, Alberta’s share of Canada’s immigrant population more than doubled from 6.8% to 14.2%. Eighteen percent of Alberta’s population is made up of immigrants, with that number expected to climb as high as 31% within 20 years.

In fact, by 2036, half the Canadian population will either be an immigrant or second-generation immigrant, according to a recent study. In Calgary and Edmonton (Alberta’s largest cities) that number could reach 61% and 53%, respectively.

To say the least, managing language access for a patient community with exploding diversity is a massive undertaking. AHS has partnered with LanguageLine Solutions to provide much-needed language services to its patient population.

This article describes the eye-opening experience patients and healthcare workers are having with language access.

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Effective Language Access: The Challenge for Educators

Posted by Greg Holt on August 10, 2016

With the advent of legislation like the Every Student Succeeds Act, No Child Left Behind, and other regulations that strengthen the involvement of parents in their children’s education, school districts have a growing need for successful language access programs.

At the core of the need for language solutions is the principle of ensuring meaningful access to educational programs. Federal legislation, like Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits discrimination on the basis of national origin, which today includes language. Other statutes touching on equal opportunity for children (and their parents) to participate in the educational process include the Equal Educational Opportunity Act, Title III of No Child Left Behind Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Mandates to provide equal access to the benefits of public education are a common theme.

The main driver for the growth of language services in schools is the Limited English Proficient (LEP) population around the country. In the United States, where 1 in 5 individuals now speak a language other than English at home, schools encounter significant language barriers. English language learners (ELL) comprised 9.3% (or 4.5 million students) in 2013-2014. In California that number reached 22.7%! These statistics don’t account for LEP parents. Communicating with parents in their preferred language is critical to their full understanding and participation in their children’s education. 

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Need Help Complying with ACA’s Final Rule?

Posted by Suzy duMont-Perez on July 27, 2016

As a health care provider ensuring access to qualified interpreters for the Limited English Proficient (LEP) and the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing is the right thing to do. Under Section 1557, it is now also the law. 

As of July 18, 2016 health care entities that receive federal funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), HHS-administered programs, and Health Insurance Marketplaces and participating plans are obligated to comply with sweeping new federal language access requirements. These new standards were included in the final rule implementing Section 1557, the nondiscrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act.

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5 Reasons Health Care Providers Need Medical Interpreters

Posted by Suzy duMont-Perez on April 27, 2016

As the United States becomes more and more diverse, so do the languages we speak. Today, more than 25 million Americans speak English “less than very well,” according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This effect is felt especially in healthcare, where communication and language comprehension can directly affect patient safety and satisfaction—not to mention the associated risks and costs involved. In fact, research indicates that limited English proficient (LEP) patients are less health-literate, more at risk for drug complications, and more likely to be misunderstood by their physicians. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) suggests that nearly 9% of the U.S. population is at risk for an adverse event because of language barriers.

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Partnering to Ensure Success: CMS Call Center Study

Posted by Suzy duMont-Perez on January 27, 2016

The 2016 Call Center Monitoring Study, to be conducted by The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), is just around the corner. Is your call center prepared?

As you likely know, the CMS carries out this study every year beginning in February. The goal and methodology are simple enough, but the impact of their research is profound. As CMS representatives call through the member service phone numbers posing as Medicare and Medicaid recipients, they will be timing the call and checking for accuracy in the responses provided.

Based on the results of their assessment – among other factors – you will be awarded a star rating (1 to 5 stars) which then has a direct impact on how much money you are reimbursed for Medicare and Medicaid services as well as enrollment.

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Beyond Compliance: The Real Need for a Language Access Provider

Posted by Suzy duMont-Perez on December 23, 2015

Everyone realizes that healthcare organizations are required by law to provide a measure of language access to their patients:

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