Following a debate over whether it was a costly government mandate or an instrument for enhancing care, the California Assembly has voted to pass a bill that would require state hospitals to provide additional interpreting services. (Hospitals are already required to provide interpreting services to patients.) The measure put forward by Senator Ron Calderon would now require hospitals to evaluate their interpreters’ proficiency in communicating medical information in English and the foreign language. In addition, the bill would require more training to ensure that hospital personnel comprehend and consider the impact patients’ cultural, religious, and spiritual beliefs might have on their care. The California Hospital Association supported the bill after the Senate made amendments eliminating a requirement that hospitals have three interpreters on site at all times. The association’s Peggy Wheeler said that hospitals will see some extra training costs under the bill, but now have more flexibility to supply care addressing all patients’ language and cultural needs. The bill will become law if Governor Jerry Brown signs the legislation.
      From “Lawmakers Support More Hospital Translation Rules”
      Associated Press (NY) (08/30/11)

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