Tips For Locating
First, assess the oral linguistic needs of your Limited English
Proficient (LEP) patients. Second, assess the services available
to meet these needs.
Assess the language capability
of your staff (See Employee Language Skills Self-Assessment)
Assess services available through patient health plans
- Keep a list of available bilingual staff who can assist with LEP patients on-site.
If services are covered, identify the appropriate contact
- Ask all health plans you work with if and when they provide interpreter services, including American Sign Language interpreters, as a covered benefit for their members.
- Identify the policies and procedures in place to access interpreter services for each plan you work with.
- Keep an updated list of specific telephone numbers and health plan contacts for language services.
- Ask the agency providing the interpreter for their training standards and methods of assessing interpreter quality.
- Don’t forget to inquire about Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) services for the hard of hearing/deaf.
and request the health plan’s process to access services.
If interpreter services are NOT
- Determine if face-to-face and/or telephone interpreters are covered.
If face-to-face interpreters are covered, have the following information ready before requesting the interpreter: gender, age, language needed, date/time of appointment, type of visit, and office specialty.
> Remember to follow all HIPAA regulations when transmitting any patient-identifiable information to parties outside your office.
- If telephone interpreters are covered, relay the pertinent patient information which will help the interpreter better serve the needs of the patient and the provider.
covered by the patient’s health plan, find other resources
to meet the linguistic needs of your LEP patients.
- Use trained/capable internal staff.
- Contract with a telephonic interpreting company. (See Telephonic Interpreting Companies.) It is recommended that you assess the quality of the services provided by these vendors.
- Check for services available through Community Based Organizations. Some provide free face-to-face interpreter services for the community or they may offer low fees.
- Depending on the linguistic needs of your LEP population, you may have to consider hiring a professional interpreter.
- For further information, you may contact the National Council on Interpretation in Health Care, the Society of American Interpreters, the Translators & Interpreters Guild, the American Translators Association, or any local Health Care Interpreters association in your area.