Health plans often use written materials for multiple purposes, including educating members about available services, benefits, member rights and care. When done thoughtfully, the translation of certain documents can be a valuable means of communicating with limited English proficiency (LEP) individuals.
Federal laws and some state laws (e.g., California and Texas) require federally funded health care organizations to translate vital documents for LEP patients. Specifically, the HHS Office of Civil Rights policy guidance set forth the following guidelines for ensuring access to written materials and documents for LEP patients served by federally funded health care organizations:
Translation of all written materials for each LEP language group that equals the lesser of 10 percent or 3,000 members;
Translation of at least vital documents for each LEP language group that equals the lesser of 5 percent or 1,000 members; and
Translation of notice of right to competent interpretation of written documents for LEP populations below the above thresholds.