United States' medical professionals who work with patients with limited English proficiency should rely on trained medical interpreters to give them the best comprehension of what a patient is saying. According to a new report from medical, legal, and education professionals, federal law requires health programs and clinicians receiving federal funds (e.g., federal grants, Medicaid, or Medicare Part A) to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to individuals with limited English proficiency, including interpreter services. In some cases, Medicaid or other federally funded medical insurance will cover the cost of an interpreter. The authors suggest that a language access plan involving professional medical interpreters will provide better health outcomes, ethical patient care, improved patient satisfaction, and reduce costly repeat visits by patients with limited understanding of their clinicians.
Medical Interpreters in Outpatient Practice
Barry D. Weiss, MD, et al
University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, Arizona