Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Translation Services Ohio

Lawmakers support more hospital translation rules

Latest News
The Associated Press
Posted: 08/30/2011 04:48:36 PM PDT
Updated: 08/30/2011 05:41:49 PM PDT
Source: Mercury News
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—California hospitals would face additional rules in providing translation for patients who speak a language other than English under a bill sent to the governor on Tuesday.The Assembly voted 48-27 to approve the bill after debate over whether it was an expensive government mandate or a tool for improving care. It passed the Senate in June.
Hospitals already must provide translation services to patients. SB442 by Democratic Sen. Ron Calderon of Monterey Park would require an assessment of whether interpreters are proficient in communicating medical information in English and the foreign language.
It also would require additional training to ensure that hospital staff understand and consider patients’ cultural, religious and spiritual beliefs that might affect care, and offer appropriate services to patients.
Medical care costs less and produces better results when the doctor and patient clearly understand each other, said Assemblyman Richard Pan, a Sacramento Democrat and physician who presented the bill.
While interpreters may charge a steep hourly rate, he said, they can help a doctor rule out a condition that would otherwise require an expensive medical test.
Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, a Dana Point Republican, argued that rising medical costs and the weak economy made the case against imposing new costs on hospitals.
“It is a bad time to be setting policy like this in the state of California,” she said.Opponents noted that in many cases, family members can serve as interpreters at the hospital and said the state should be more concerned with saving lives than cultural sensitivity.
Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, said even patients who speak English sometimes have trouble understanding complex medical instructions.
“How do you have a 7-year-old who speaks English explain to their parents how to get adequate follow-up care?” she asked.
The bill was supported by the California Hospital Association after Senate amendments that eliminated a requirement that hospitals have three interpreters on site around the clock.
“The price tag for that was unwieldy,” said Peggy Wheeler, a vice president with the association. Hospitals will see some additional training costs under the bill, she said, but now have more flexibility to provide care that addresses the language and cultural needs of all patients.

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