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MD News Article: Language Access and Malpractice Issues

November 1, 2016

Read Nancy Block's article in MD News Long Island, Language Access and Malpractice Issues.


"As we approach an election with a focus on immigration, it reminds us that language barriers are often prevalent in areas of industry — including health care. From a legal standpoint, language access in the healthcare setting has been addressed at the federal, state and local levels. Emphasis is placed on the patient’s right to participate in medical decision-making as well as equal access to health services. New York state, for example, requires all hospitals to provide interpreters within 10 minutes in the emergency room and 20 minutes elsewhere. Hospitals also must notify patients about their rights to language services. Likewise, the law discourages family members from acting as interpreters. Patients are to be provided with a competent interpreter to ensure equal treatment as language barriers do not justify less than adequate care. "


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