Are you relying on unqualified, bilingual staff to provide patient interpretation?

By Acclaro
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Are you relying on unqualified, bilingual staff to provide patient interpretation?

You may be noncompliant with Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Hospitals that receive federal funding, that are administered by Health and Human Services (HHS) or participate in health insurance marketplaces – the majority of healthcare organizations in the U.S. – need to ensure they provide “qualified” health care interpretation to limited-English proficient (LEP) patients under Section 1557 of the ACA.

Previously, having “competent” interpreters such as friends, family members and non-qualified staff was sufficient. Now, informal interpretation is deemed noncompliant unless an LEP patient requests that an accompanying adult helps facilitate communication in the event of an emergency.

What defines a qualified interpreter?

  1. Interpreters must possess proficiency in speaking and understanding English and one additional language, but being bilingual in itself does not meet that requirement. Qualified interpreters should have demonstrable qualifications.
  2. Interpreters must be able to recognize and use specialized terminology when necessary in order to accurately convey information.
  3. Interpreters must adhere to ethical principles such as client confidentiality.

Institutions that don’t provide qualified interpreters and fail to comply with Section 1557 could risk a lawsuit.

How do I become or stay compliant?

One way of combatting the risk of litigation is with over-the-phone interpretation (OPI). With OPI you simply dial a provided 1-800 number, and a live agent will then connect you and your patient to a live, qualified interpreter.

Acclaro’s cost effective OPI service is available on-demand in 79 languages and in over 200 languages with our advanced scheduling service. Our skilled team of trained, screened, and certified interpreters can help overcome language barriers between your staff and LEP patients which in turn allows you to provide better patient care.

Take a step closer to compliance and learn more about Acclaro’s OPI service today!

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