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.
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.
The latest edition of our Health Equity Forum newsletter hit the virtual shelves today, and it features a lot of information on the most pressing health issues impacting California’s communities of color in 2015.
To start it off, our Executive Director, Sarah de Guia, summarizes the ongoing efforts to renew California’s 1115 Medi-Cal waiver, which has been instrumental in expanding the program in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. Renewing the waiver will help the state focus not just on expanding access to coverage, but implementing strategies to reduce health disparities as well.
We also have an article from B. Darcel Lee, President and CEO of the California Black Health Network (CBHN), one of CPEHN’s founding ethnic partner organizations. She gives a recap of CBHN’s Heroes in Health Gala.