MONTEREY, Calif., Feb. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A new report, "The New Joint Commission Standards for Patient-Centered Care," co-authored by two former language-expert hospital administrators in conjunction with Language Line Services, the leader worldwide in interpreting and translation services, calls attention to the lack of compliance with language access requirements for limited English proficient patients, as new regulations by The Joint Commission enter a year-long pilot phase this year.
The report details the challenges ahead as healthcare organizations struggle to provide necessary language access services and integrate these new and revised standards into their day-to-day operations.
"Poor communication leads to poor care," said Oscar Arocha, a 25-year industry veteran and former director of the largest interpreter services department in the nation at Boston Medical Center. "The problem is that few hospitals have taken the necessary steps to comply."
Communication breakdowns are responsible for nearly 3,000 unexpected deaths each year, according to The Joint Commission. The majority of these breakdowns are for limited English speakers. Already, more than 50 million people - or approximately one in six residents - speak a language other than English at home, and today's ethnic minority is projected to become the majority by 2042.
The aim of the new and revised regulations announced in 2009 is to improve patient-provider communication and ensure patient safety. The standards are already in place as of January 1, 2011, but do not impact accreditation during the year-long pilot phase. These regulations require proof of interpreter training and fluency competence for interpreters in spoken languages as well as American Sign Language (ASL) for Deaf and Hard of Hearing patients.
"The Joint Commission expects hospitals to demonstrate a greater commitment to language services and cultural competency for all its limited English proficient and deaf patients, and it is giving hospitals one year to prepare," said co-author of the report Deborah Yvette Moore, who served 32 years as manager of the Parkland Health and Hospital System and is a lifelong advocate of patients' rights. "Relying on bilingual staff, family members or untrained interpreters, whose misunderstandings, omissions, biases, and impatience often get in the way, is a risky way to bridge the language gap."
The Joint Commission is an independent, non-profit organization that surveys and accredits hospitals and other healthcare institutions across the country via unscheduled accreditation surveys.
The new report, "The New Joint Commission Standards for Patient-Centered Care," can be found here (http://www.languageline.com/jointcommission2011report).
About Language Line Services
Language Line Services, the global leader in telephone interpreting and language solutions, serves clients in government, healthcare, telecommunications, financial services, utilities, insurance and many other industries by quickly connecting them to their customers, patients and sales prospects in more than 170 spoken languages as well as American Sign Language (ASL) and Mexican Sign Language (LSM). Language Line Services is recognized as a trusted partner to thousands of public and private organizations throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, providing easy access to the industry's fastest language interpreting service at highly competitive rates. For more information about Language Line Services' suite of telephone, on-site and video interpreting, document translation, interpreter assessment and training programs, please call (800) 752-6096 or visit http://www.languageline.com.
SOURCE Language Line Services