New Translation Law in California

In January 2009 a new translation law for Health Care Providers in California goes into effect. HealthLeaders InterStudy, a managed-care news service, reports that many providers have already submitted plans for conforming with the new law.

The law, known as Senate Bill 853, requires health plans to translate vital documents into the top spoken language among a plan’s membership and to provide interpretation services for any language a member of the plan requests. The law includes the following provisions: if a health plan has more than one million members, it must translate materials into the top two non-English languages spoken by its members; for plans with 300,000 to one million members, translation into only one language is required; and for plans with under 300,000 members, translation is required when 3,000 members (or more or 5 percent, whichever is less) indicate a need for translation services.

California has some of the most progressive laws in the country regarding providing translation and interpreting services to limited English-speaking and non-English-speaking patients. The success of the implementation of this law, its enforcement, its success in improving health care, and its overall costs, merits close attention. For more information, see the full article at Earth Times.

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