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Assemblymember Chau Introduces Legislation to Ensure Language Access in Hospitals

Assemblymember Chau Introduces Legislation to Ensure Language Access in Hospitals

Below is a press release sent out today by Assemblymember Ed Chau's office introducing a bill that CPEHN is sponsoring. Be sure to check back here on our blog for updates on this important legislation in the coming months!

Sacramento — Today, Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park) introduced AB 389, which would direct a general acute hospital to post its language assistance policy for limited-English proficient (LEP) individuals online and require the California Department of Public Health and the Office of Statewide Planning and Development to post this information on their websites, as well.

“For many Californian’s who are not proficient in English, the lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate staff and services remains a major barrier to accessing adequate healthcare,” said Assemblymember Chau. “Failure to provide language access can lead to serious consequences, such as higher rates of hospitalization, drug complications, and not returning for follow-ups after an emergency room visit.”

California’s Kopp Act requires all hospitals in the state to file a copy of their language assistance policy, and annual updates, with the Department of Public Health (DPH). The intent is to ensure that every resident, regardless of language capability, can access health services in a hospital setting. However, hospitals currently submit their policies and procedures to the respective DPH Licensing and Certification District Office. Having the policies spread out makes it difficult for policymakers and the public to access them and to ensure the appropriate protections and practices set forth by the State are being adhered to. AB 389 would provide greater transparency and oversight of the Kopp Act by centralizing this information to confirm that hospitals are complying with this key accountability measure and meeting the needs of LEP patients. 

“Thirty years ago, California policy makers had the foresight to require language assistance in hospitals. Now we have the technology to better inform consumers about their rights to these services. By making policies available online, this bill enables consumers to access information the law already guarantees,” said Sarah de Guia, Executive Director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network.

“By ensuring that every hospital has a language assistance policy in place, we are ensuring compliance and strengthening transparency procedures that will enhance the hospital’s performance and break down barriers that can contribute to disparities in healthcare treatment,” concluded Assemblymember Chau. 

Assemblymember Chau represents the 49th Assembly District, comprised of the communities of Alhambra, Arcadia, El Monte, Monterey Park, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino, Temple City and portions of Montebello, and South El Monte.

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