Is Your Practice Meeting Patients' Linguistic Needs? Ensure Interpreter Services Are Ready to Go

April 16, 2018 | Physician Practice News

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​Citing a case in which interpreter services were not scheduled for a Spanish-speaking patient even though her health record indicated she required an interpreter, an article published in the April 2018 issue of PSNet Web M&Mdiscusses the legal and technological aspects of providing interpreters for patients with limited English proficiency (LEP). Federal law requires healthcare providers to make interpretation services available for patients with LEP, preferably in multiple modalities, such as a combination of in person, by telephone, or online, the article says. The author suggests providers set in place a formal system to ensure an interpreter will be present for the patient's scheduled appointments. If the interpreter will be reached by phone or online, it is crucial to ensure before the appointment that the service is functional and can be used in the appropriate area of the facility and that contact information for the service is current.

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