Language Should Not be a Barrier to Good Health Care

From 2001 to 2002, staff at the National Alliance for Hispanic Health monitored and informed health professional associations and community-based organizations about implementation of a presidential executive order on the provision of services to people with limited English proficiency.

Key Results

The alliance:

  • Developed four background papers on ensuring access to health services for people with limited English proficiency.
  • Disseminated information on the limited English proficiency guidelines.
  • Built relationships among health professional associations to support the delivery of health services to people with limited English proficiency.

Key Recommendations

A publication produced by the project team, entitled Agreement Points from Executive Session on Limited English Proficiency Services, comprised of a set of common beliefs and six points of agreement, including:

  • Payment for medical interpretation should be directly between the payer who is not the health care professional and the provider of interpreter services.
  • A mechanism for national funding for medical interpretation should be established.
  • Collaboration with state efforts to increase the funds available for limited English proficiency services, thus increasing the availability of matching Medicaid funds should be established.
  • Medical providers do not have to certify the quality of medical interpreters.
  • Use of a medical interpreter should be an option that is offered to the patient.
  • Support for expanded identification of available medical interpretation resources for the provider and patient community, with an emphasis on identifying local and regional resources, should be established.