Carter-Pokras, Olivia and O'Neill, Marla J F and Cheanvechai, Vasana and Menis, Mikhail and Fan, Tao and Solera, Angelo (2004) Providing linguistically appropriate services to persons with limited English proficiency: a needs and resources investigation. The American journal of managed care, 10 Spe. SP29-36. ISSN 1088-0224
Increasing numbers of persons in the United States cannot speak, read, write, or understand the English language at a level that permits them to interact effectively. These limitations can hamper encounters between patients and healthcare providers, often leading to misunderstandings as to diagnosis and treatment, which in turn may result in poor patient compliance, unsatisfactory outcomes, and increased costs. A questionnaire was developed and distributed to clinical practice managers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine to assess the needs for language interpretation services and resources among clinical faculty providing healthcare to persons with limited English proficiency (LEP). Literature review, search of key Web sites, and consultation with national experts on issues pertaining to language access, health services, and reimbursement strategies also were done. Then, recommendations regarding the costs and benefits of language interpretation in healthcare settings were developed. Because recipients of federal financial assistance from the Department of Health and Human Services must provide meaningful access to persons with LEP at no cost to the client, there are clear benefits to providing language interpretation. Providers and managers should be made aware of interpretation service options and cost-saving strategies.
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