Law Pushes Hospitals To Offer Language Assistance
A program at UC-Davis Medical Center provides language-assistance services to non-English speaking patients to comply with a new state law, the Sacramento Bee reports. The law requires health care facilities to provide such services and written materials in a patient's language.
The hospital's Transcultural Linguistic Care Nurse Program consists of Spanish-, Russian- and Hmong-speaking nurses.
The nurses conduct admissions interviews, check on patients until they are released and interpret for physicians and specialists. The nurses complement hired interpreters, bilingual hospital staff and a phone service.
The six-month program employs five nurses, and hospital officials hope to add more nurses to meet patient demand.
Other hospital systems, including Sutter Health and Kaiser Permanente, provide translation services using bilingual staff members on an as-needed basis.
Sutter staff members can take tests to become certified in a language, while Kaiser staff members are certified by an external company on two levels of language ability.
Ryan Darke, director of Kaiser's interpreter services, said Kaiser also contracts with interpreters to work in person or by telephone when bilingual staff members are unavailable (McNamara, Sacramento Bee, 7/9).