California Endowment Establishes Council To Improve Health Services for Limited-English Proficient Patients
The California Endowment has established the Medical Leadership Council for Language Access, a coalition of 25 physician and medical organizations from across the state, to improve health care services for limited-English proficient California residents. The council, led by the California Academy of Family Physicians and funded with a $424,700 grant from the endowment, will develop proposals to improve access to interpreters and language translation in the delivery of health care services to LEP patients. The council, part of an endowment campaign to improve health care interpretation and translation, will meet biannually to discuss proposals to improve LEP patient care and to "explore policy changes that can provide solutions to funding health care interpretation services." A Census 2000 Supplemental Survey found that a majority of the 39.5% of state residents who speak a language other than English at home may benefit from health care language assistance. According to an April 2002 Brandeis University study, LEP patients "face a much greater risk" of medical errors and misdiagnoses when they do not receive language assistance. Dr. Robert Ross, a physician and president and CEO of the endowment, said, "By bringing together health care leaders from across the state, we are assembling the best possible resources for identifying solutions to the challenges of providing and funding interpreter and translation services" (California Endowment release, 8/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.