The Affordable Care Act and Telephone Interpretation

November 23, 2016 |

By Sarah-Claire Jordan

the-affordable-care-act-and-telephone-interpretation-artThe Affordable Care Act of is an act that was created in 2010 as a way to provide access to healthcare services for everyone in the United States. Section 1557 of that same act aims to put an end to discrimination in the realm of healthcare based on everything from ethnicity to disability. Discrimination based on national origin can come in many forms, but one that has been prominent is based on native language. This section of the Affordable Care Act stipulates that any healthcare organization, program, or doctor that receives money from the government to provide services cannot discriminate against any patients based on their native language.

What does this mean exactly? Basically, it means that every patient using Medicaid or Medicare must have access to information about anything related to their treatment in their native language, not just in English. While some people may have some knowledge of English, it may not be enough to hold a conversation about health issues or to understand their rights as a patient. The section also states that “covered entities” are not allowed to make use of bilingual hospital staff or poor quality interpreting services. Relying on a bilingual friend or family member to act as a linguistic middleman for patient and medical staff is also prohibited, as this would amount to using an unqualified person to handle it.

Healthcare providers that use Medicaid or Medicare money are required to provide information for patients in languages other than English. But how are they supposed to know which languages they need to offer information in? Section 1557 stipulates that they must provide at least basic information in the top 15 languages spoken in their state besides English. This means healthcare providers need to be aware of language statistics for their state, in order to meet all of their patients needs. On-site interpreters are great to have on staff as well, but aren’t always in the budget.

One of the best and most cost-effective ways to deal with providing quality medical interpretation services to every patient that requires them is to work with a telephone interpreting service. Telephone interpreting service providers are accustomed to working in the medical sector and will be more than happy to help those not sufficiently proficient in English to get the care they deserve. With the implementation of ACA Section 1557, medical offices are actually required to provide interpreting services if a patient requests them. The best bet for Medical centers is a reliable company that can provide over-the-phone translation in multiple languages, especially those spoken in their state.

If you are a healthcare provider looking for high quality telephone interpretation services, Alpha Omega Translations offers excellent medical interpretation over the phone. This is an excellent option as interpretation in any and every language are available and it is a use-as-needed service. There is no need to spend extra money to hire an in-house interpreter when you could get excellent services simply picking up the phone.

For an overview of Alpha Omega Translations’ expertise, visit our telephone interpreting service page.

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Category: Business Translation

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