One-third of Hospitals in U.S. Fail to Offer Language Services

Twenty-four million people in the United States have limited English proficiency. They experience barriers to healthcare because of their inability to communicate effectively with providers. According to an analysis published recently in Health Affairs, more than a third of the hospitals in the United States in 2013 did not offer patients access to language assistance.

In areas with the greatest need, about 25% of facilities failed to provide such services. Based on civil rights law, any hospital receiving federal funds must have language services available for its patients. However, many patients do not know their right to access language services. The study noted, private for-profit hospitals — the kind least likely to offer this kind of help — continue to grow in market share.But the challenge also provides an opportunity for hospitals to empower their customers to be informed patients. Read more about the study, LEP, and U.S. civil rights law in this article at Kaiser Health News .

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