Ensuring Meaningful Access to Health Care

There is a growing body of evidence that language barriers for individuals with limited English proficiency has a direct relationship to the quality of health care. Providing language assistance services can improve the quality of care and reduce health care disparities among individuals with limited English proficiency. Language assistance services include both verbal interpretation services and written translation services. There are many useful resources that can help support the many reasons for improving language access, including legal and regulatory requirements, patient safety, risk management, quality improvement and disparities reduction. Hospitals, health plans, community health centers and physician office practices have all demonstrated the feasibility and importance of ensuring language access.