Public Health Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-856

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING LANGUAGE INTERPRETERS IN HOSPITALS.

Vote Date:

03/04/2015

Vote Action:

JF/Floor

PH Date:

2/20/2015

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Public Health Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

To require acute care hospitals to make interpreter services available

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Orlando Rodriguez, Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission: The Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission are in favor of this bill. They believe medical interpreters must be “required' when there is a sizable patient population that does not speak English. In 2013 136,000 state residents did not speak English well or did not speak English at all. The largest growth was among residents age 65 and over, which is the largest consumer of healthcare services.

Alok Bhatt, Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission: The Commission is in strong support of the Bill. Asian Pacific Americans comprise less than 5 % of the population Nearly 1/3 of all Asian Pacific Americans in Connecticut identifying as Limited English Proficient.

Subira Gordon, African-American Affairs Commission: The Commission believes that for too many people the thought of going to a hospital is nerve wrecking due to their limited proficiency in English.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Maritza Bond, Eastern Area Health Education Center (EAHEC): As Connecticut continues to experience a demographic shift pointing to an increase in individuals with language barriers; hospital systems face an enormous challenge in providing quality health services to patients with limited to no knowledge of English. The Eastern Area Health Education Center also believes that the Bill would increase state oversight of hospitals but it is too broad in its language. They recommend the following:

● In line 3 delete “shall: and insert “must”

● In line 10 after “interpreters” insert “once qualified interpreters are defined” to this statement

● In line 13 add “on the hospital website, and publicity to promote the availability of interpretation services. Such notices should include contact information for the Federal Office of Civil Rights, as well as the State of Connecticut Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities, and be translated into languages served by hospitals geographic area.”

● In line 15 in addition to reviewing standardize forms, language should be added to translate relevant and essential materials in to languages spoken by populations served by the hospital geographic service area.

● In line 17 remove the term “Consider” and use “provide”

● In line 19 add the term community liaison

Interpreters and Translators, Inc.: The company overall supports the intent of the Bill. The company shares the legislature's commitment to provide the best possible care for non-English speaking individuals. They would also support a proposed amendment in order to ensure the availability of interpreter's services to limited English proficient patients. The company would also like to see a clearer definition of what a “qualified interpreter” is.

Connecticut Hospital Association: CHA supports the bill and its approach to providing culturally competent and linguistically appropriate care.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None

Reported by: Zani Imetovski

Date: 3/5/15