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Medi-Cal Language Access Standards Updated!

Recently, California's Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) revised language access standards for the written documents that must be translated for Limited English Proficient (LEP) consumers in Medi-Cal managed care plans. In addition to the current thresholds, plans are now required to provide translated written documents when 5% of recipients in a county are LEP and speak the same primary language. This revision will particularly help LEP beneficiaries in rural counties access health care in their native language. Oral interpretation services must be provided to LEP enrollees in any language.

The new standard states that translated written documents are required when: "a population group of mandatory Medi-Cal beneficiaries residing in a service area who indicate their primary language as other than English, and meet a numeric threshold of 3,000 or 5% of the beneficiary population, whichever is lower." You can download the new revised language access standards here.

DHCS also conducted an analysis of LEP populations that meet these new thresholds. While most counties either gained a language or remained the same, only one county, San Joaquin, had a decrease in threshold languages. The following is a summary of the changes with new language requirements in BOLD and loss of languages in ITALICS:
  • Arabic (2): San Diego, Los Angeles 
  • Armenian (1): Los Angeles 
  • Cambodian (1): Los Angeles, San Joaquin
  • Chinese (6): Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara 
  • Farsi (2): Los Angeles, Orange 
  • Hmong (3): Fresno, Sacramento, Merced 
  • Korean (2): Los Angeles, Orange 
  • Spanish (44, 22 new): Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Imperial, Inyo, Kings, Lake, Madera, Marin, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Placer, San Luis Obispo, Sonoma, Sutter, Tehama, Ventura, Yuba  
  • Tagalog (4): Los Angeles, San Diego, San Mateo, Santa Clara
  • Vietnamese (7): Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Clara
If you have questions or comments, please contact Cary Sanders at

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