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How Does Your Medical Facility Stay Complaint?

The National Council on Disability states, “All patients must be able to interact with his/her medical providers, ask questions, and understand what is being asked of them in order to participate in his/her own healthcare and make informed decisions.”

Let’s work together to stay compliant, reduce the risk, and ensure that your office/medical facility/hospital never has to face litigation because of a disability-based discrimination complaint from a deaf patient due to a lack of deaf awareness, cultural sensitivity, and communication access at your location.

Let’s agree that:  Good patient care is dependent upon effective communication.

How does your facility get there?

Every hospital employee (doctors, nurses, social workers, patient care advocates, executive leadership, etc.) must be committed to and know the following:

  • What auxiliary aids and services does your facility provide to deaf and hard-of-hearing patients and his/her companions?
  • Who is responsible to request auxiliary aids and services at your facility?
  • What is the process to request:
    • An on-site/face-to-face sign language interpreter?
    • A VRI (video remote interpreting) interpreter?
    • A CART (communication access real time) provider?
    • Accessible printed materials in ASL via an online link?
    • Other auxiliary aids and services?
  • What is proper disability etiquette?
  • What does it mean to be culturally competent in Deaf culture?

Did You Know?  Selecting the wrong interpreting agency can cost your facility more than you are saving.

Your facility is a business.  Your facility wants to provide high-quality health care.  Your facility has a budget.  And your facility wants to be fiscally responsible.  But implementing cost cutting measures to reduce expenses and improve profitability by securing low cost/minimally competent interpreting services is a disservice to your deaf and hard-of-hearing patients and his/her companions and places your facility in a position to receive and have to confront a disability discrimination complaint.  You get what you pay for.  The cost of the interpreting services are directly related to the quality of the interpreter/interpretation or the CART services/provider.

Did You Know?  Having an unqualified interpreter or captioner is not better than having nothing.

An unqualified, unskilled interpreter can cause a deaf patient to misunderstand a diagnosis, treatment needed, or steps necessary to heal properly thus compromising the quality of patient care and possibly threaten a deaf person’s life.  If a deaf patient receives poor quality interpreting services which results in poor patient care resulting in the amount of money your facility spends on auxiliary aids and services because the same deaf patients will return to your facility for additional care and possibly be re-admitted to your facility.  Poor quality interpreting services can increase legal risks due to misdiagnosis and improper or delayed medical treatment.

Did You Know?  VRI (Video Remote Interpreting) is not a magic-pill nor a quick fix to your facilities interpreting needs.

Are your video remote doctors board certified?  Yes, of course each one is.  Why would your facility not mandate the same level of quality from your VRI interpreters?  Presently there are few states that mandate national interpreter certification for sign language interpreters working remotely.  For example, your facility mandates that all sign language interpreters that enter your facility hold a national interpreter certification (NIC) or some form of national certification (CI/CT, IC/TC, CSC, etc.) yet when a nurse rolls in a VRI interpreter, that standard is tabled.  Does your VRI provider require that their interpreters have national interpreter certification and specialized training? Don’t settle for anything less than the high quality of care that your facility advertises and promises each patient that enters your doors.