Today, Governor Jerry Brown continued California’s commitment to language access in health care by signing Assembly Bill 389 into law. The new law, authored by Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park) and sponsored by the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), directs a general acute hospital to post its language assistance policy for Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals online and requires hospital websites to include a notice about the availability of those services in the five most common non-English languages.
“Millions of Californians are not proficient in English, and this law will help them find culturally and linguistically appropriate health care when they need it,” Assemblymember Chau said. “Language barriers can result in serious consequences, such as higher rates of hospitalization, drug complications, and not returning for follow-ups after an emergency room visit. The action taken by the Governor will give all patients the ability to better navigate our hospital system, which will result in improved health outcomes.”
Existing law requires hospitals to annually report to the California Department of Public Health their policies for assisting patients with language needs. Currently these plans are only available in paper form and are not publicly reported. This makes it difficult to ensure that hospitals are meeting the needs of their LEP patients. AB 389 provides greater transparency by centralizing this information and directly connecting LEP patients to language assistance services on hospital websites.
“California has a long history of promoting language access in its hospitals,” said Sarah de Guia, executive director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. “We have the means to better inform consumers about their rights to language assistance. With policies and notices now available online, consumers will have greater access to information and services the law already guarantees.”
We are very close to enacting some important changes to our health care system and your support can make a difference! All three of our sponsored bills are on their way to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk and your letters of support can help encourage him to sign them into law. The bills will help consumers enroll in and access the care they need. Please send in letters of support today!
Your letters are needed to ensure consumers are informed of their right to language assistance in hospitals and to expand access to translated prescription labels. Please send in your letters of support for AB 389 (Chau) and AB 1073 (Ting).
AB 389 (Chau) requires hospitals to post on their websites their policies for providing language assistance to Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients. The bill also requires two state agencies, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development and the California Department of Public Health, to post hospital language assistance policies on their website. This bill improves access to this information for all Californians and ensures consumers are informed about their right to language assistance. Download a sample letter of support today!Letters must be received by Wednesday, June 3rd.
AB 1073 (Ting) requires pharmacists to use standardized written translations of prescription directions developed by the Board of Pharmacy, which are currently available in Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Korean, and Russian. Sponsored by the California Board of Pharmacy, AB 1073 helps reduce medical errors, increases patient compliance, and meets the needs of LEP patients. Download a sample letter of support today!Letters must be received by Monday, June 8th.
The hearings are scheduled for:
AB 389 (Chau) June 10, 2015, 1:30 pm Senate Committee on Health State Capitol, Room 4203
We need your support to ensure consumers are informed of their right to language assistance when accessing hospital services. Please send in your letter of support for AB 389 (Chau). Make your voice heard and urge the Assembly Committee on Health to advance this bill forward. Letters of support must be received by Wednesday, April 1st, so download and send in your letter TODAY.
For millions of Californians, adequate language assistance is essential to accessing basic health care services. More than 40% of Californians speak a language other than English at home and one in five Californians are Limited English Proficient (LEP), meaning they speak English less than very well. Prior to full implementation, projections found that nearly 40% of those newly eligible for health care subsidies in Covered California would be LEP. Failure to provide language access can lead to serious consequences, such as higher rates of hospitalizations, drug complications, and not returning for follow-ups after an emergency room visit.
AB 389 requires hospitals to post on their website their policy for providing language assistance to LEP patients and requires two state agencies, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development and the California Department of Public Health, to post hospital language assistance policies on their website. By law, hospitals are required to develop and submit to the state their policy for ensuring patients with language barriers receive appropriate language assistance. This bill improves access to this information and ensures consumers are informed about their right to language assistance.