Who Will Pay for My Medical Interpreter ?

By Melia Yanat, Lingolet Team

Who Will Pay for My Medical Interpreter ?
  • Hospitals are required by law to provide professional interpreters to patients.

Hospitals are subject to several laws, including the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VI, which states, "No person in the United States shall, based on race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation, denied benefits, or be subjected to discrimination in connection with any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."

This means if someone needs an interpreter, the hospital must provide one.


Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) imposes the same requirements. It applies to all health care organizations and organizations that receive federal grants.

  • A medical interpreter is expensive. Who pays for this?

The U.S. government funds 50% of the language costs for a federal health care facility. Thanks to the laws mentioned above, hospitals must provide interpreters.


Federal subsidies to hospitals are also measured on the patient satisfaction scores and readmission rates. When patients get interpretation, their satisfaction scores are higher.


Investing in strong interpretation services helps the hospital to provide better service.


 

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Learn more about medical translation: 

 

  • Why are medical translation errors unacceptable, and how can they be avoided

  • Is there a difference in medical language between Quebec French and French from France?