230527 Language Services Improvement Collaborative

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Michael Tutty, MHA , Commonwealth Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Shrewsbury, MA
Community health centers (CHCs) take pride in delivering culturally competent health care and are attentive to the health literacy of their patients. Despite this, it still remains a challenge to provide sufficiently qualified interpreter services to the volume of patients requesting this service. While Massachusetts law has only mandated hospitals to provide qualified interpreter services for certain services, provision of language services has evolved as an important health policy priority in order to reduce health disparities both national and locally. For example, the Joint Commission has developed accreditation standards and NCQA has included identification of patients needing interpreters as one of its ten standards for the medical home. Many CHCs hire bilingual staff to meet the interpretation needs of patients. However, there is great variability in the prerequisite bilingual skills of these staff and in the intensity of interpreter training that they receive. Many primary care providers at CHCs are also multilingual, yet most CHCs lack systems to ensure that these providers are sufficiently bilingual to provide qualified services in these languages.

Six Massachusetts community health centers were involved in this learning collaborative. The teams involved had to conduct an organizational needs assessment, develop a language service plan that fits the needs of their organization's priorities and needs, evaluate and assess organizational performance utilizing PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act) rapid cycle improvement plans, and lastly develop an improvement plan for language services delivery.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
Analyze current language services within your organization Develop a language services plan Evaluate and assess your organization's performance Develop an improvement plan for language services delivery

Keywords: Immigrants, Access and Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Director overseeing the project manager, Lisa Morris
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.