Interpreter Services - UMass Memorial Health Care

Regulatory Training
Interpreter Services
Learning Objectives
Upon completion of this training, you will be able to:
• Recognize the legal and ethical obligations of
providing qualified medical interpreters to patients
• Document the provision or refusal of interpreter services
• Request an interpreter either face-to-face or over-the-phone
• Identify your options when contacting patients outside of the hospital
Interpreter Services
The interpreter services office is available to provide language
services twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Interpreter Services Office
• 774-441-6793 (Main #)
• 774-441-8627 (Fax #)
Additional Information is available on OurNet:
Resources --> Interpreter Services
Our Patient Population
UMass Memorial serves a diverse patient population that includes patients who
have Limited English Proficiency (LEP) or are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (D/HH). It
is UMass Memorial's Policy (#1005 & #2116) to provide an effective means of
communication to all of our LEP and D/HH patients in their preferred language.
At UMass Memorial, qualified medical interpreters are available for providers
and patients twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, through our onsite
Interpreter Services Office (ISO). The ISO can also provide resources and
referrals for other necessary auxiliary aids and services (e.g., CART, assistive
listening technology, etc.) for D/HH patients who do not use American Sign
Language (ASL).
UMass Memorial is required by both Federal and State laws to provide
interpreter services and auxiliary aids to all people requesting care in another
Hospital Responsibility
Legal Obligations
Title VI of the 1964 Civil Right’s Act, Title II and Title III of the Americans with
Disabilities Act, and Emergency Room Interpreters Law (Chapter 66 of the Acts
of 2000), all outline UMass Memorial's legal obligation to provide interpreter
services and accommodations in a non-discriminatory environment to our LEP
and D/HH patients.
Ethical Obligations
Without a qualified medical interpreter present, research shows health care
quality decreases for patients needing care in another language. LEP patients
are more likely to be in poor health, miss appointments, have drug
complications, and not have a regular health care provider.
Hospital Responsibility
UMass Memorial Hospital Policy (#1005 & #2116)
It is UMass Memorial's policy to provide medical interpreters to our LEP and
D/HH patients and family. While all patients have the right to have an
interpreter or auxiliary aid, a patient may waive his or her right and, instead,
prefer to use a family member, friend, or other means of communication. This
practice is not recommended and his or her refusal must be documented.
Assessing a Patient's Communication Needs
Each LEP and D/HH patient will have different communication needs and one
size truly does not fit all. UMass Memorial staff and providers should ask the
patient his or her preferred language in which to receive health care services,
document this preference, and request the appropriate services from the ISO.
About Qualified Medical Interpreters
A medical interpreter is not simply someone
who is bilingual: he or she is a professional
who is trained and proficient in the ethics and
skills of interpreting and is knowledgeable
about specialized medical terminology and
She is responsible for conveying the messages
and meanings of both parties without
additions, omissions, or personal opinion, and
must identify cultural differences, bridge gaps,
and overcome barriers that will impede the
patient and provider from effectively
communicating. Interpreters should not be
expected to assume the role and
responsibilities of social workers, case
managers, advocates or health care providers.
Interpreter Options: Face-to-Face
Some medical situations may benefit from the use of a face-to-face
When to use a Face-to-Face interpreter:
Serious diagnoses or potentially upsetting news
Patient's first appointment
Family meetings or group discussions
Interactions requiring visual elements
Complicated or personal medical procedures
Other Methods of Communication
Use of Non-Qualified and Untrained Interpreters
Family members or friends of patients should not serve as interpreters unless
the patient expressly requests such an arrangement. In the case of uncommon
languages, however, a qualified medical interpreter may not be available in
person or via telephonic interpretation. Therefore, you may be required to
utilize a patient’s family member or friend to interpret.
Bilingual Employees are not Interpreters
Bilingual employees should not be used as ad-hoc interpreters or for the
translation of medical documents.
Translation of Medical Documents
A fax request form for the translation of medical documents is available on
OurNet (Resources --> Interpreter Services).
Other Methods of Communication
Other Auxiliary Aids or Services
Some D/HH patients do not use ASL and, instead, communicate with spoken or
written English. These patients may rely partially or entirely on lip reading, or
additional assistive technology, to understand the provider. While a medical
interpreter is not needed for non-ASL users, additional services, including CART
and personal amplification, are available.
More about our D/HH Population
The majority of our D/HH patients use ASL to
communicate and may identify themselves as
culturally Deaf. Some key points to this
perspective are:
ASL is a linguistically accepted, fully developed,
natural language of the Deaf community in the
United States with syntax and grammar that
differ from English.
Deafness is not necessarily viewed as a disability
and patients may be offended by the use of
“hearing impaired”, "hearing loss", or a purely
pathological/auditory view of deafness.
As members of a cultural and linguistic
minority, there is sometimes mistrust of the
majority (hearing people) from both real and
perceived experiences of oppression.
Accessing Interpreter Services
Qualified medical interpreters are
available 24/7 for emergency visits,
inpatient use, and outpatient
appointments at the Memorial, University,
Hahnemann campuses as well as many
off-site locations.
Interpreter Services Office 24/7
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