Medical Interpreter Services in Physician Offices
Limited English Proficient (LEP) Patients who have appointments with health care providers.
To ensure quality patient care, patients and providers need to have clear and effective communication. Patients must understand their medical condition and understand what their physician is instructing them to do to improve their health. There were 2,146 such visits in fiscal year 2012. Total number of services provided during fiscal year 2013 is not available yet; although is expected to be similar or more.
To continue providing language interpretation at physician office visits for our community.
The use of trained interpreters has shown that patients with complete understanding of their medical condition have better compliance with their treatment plan and therefore have better health outcomes. Providers have also benefited from the use of interpreters and understand and communicate more effectively with their non-English speaking patients, leading to better diagnosis and treatments. It also helps patients with different ethnic backgrounds to build trust in the American medical system. Trained interpreters not only help with language barriers, they also help with cultural differences that may interfere in the adequate treatment of a patient.
By continuing to provide Interpreter services for our community at physician’s offices we will continue improving the health outcomes of our LEP (Limited English Proficiency) patients and we will ensure the provision of quality patient care.
Provide or arrange for interpreter services for at least 2,300 patient’s appointments at physician offices. The use continues to grow due to increased awareness in patients and physicians as well.
This project addresses the Massachusetts health priority of supporting health disparities.
Access to Health Care for Latinos
Hampshire County Latino residents
Cooley Dickinson Hospital partnered with the Latino Health Access project led by Casa Latina and funded by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Massachusetts. The project conducted a needs assessment of Latino residents in Hampshire County with regards to their access to health care and obtained feedback from providers about their perceptions of health access. The findings were included in the 2011 CDH Community Health Assessment. Upon completion, Casa Latina led a community project known as Bridges to Latino Health. The project implemented a 2 year program that included community health worker services; chronic disease self management programs to Latino patients; cultural competency education to health care providers; and consultation about offering Latino-friendly health care services.
The 2011 Community Health Assessment and Casa Latina’s needs assessment showed that the Latino population of Hampshire County has grown by 34% in the past 20 years and Latinos comprise 4.7% of the population of Hampshire County (2010 U.S Census). They are uninsured at higher rates than other ethnic groups; they often face challenges such as financial hardship, immigration status (undocumented), language barriers, racial discrimination, and lack of information about the health care system. Overall, they are more likely than other racial or ethnic groups to report their health as fair or poor (37%) and suffer higher rates of disability, diabetes, and being overweight or obese than White non-Hispanics. Unfortunately, Hampshire County lacks sufficient bi-lingual primary care doctors, specialists, and mental health practitioners.
Casa Latina is a unique organization in Hampshire County that acts a stepping stone for Latino residents to navigate the social and health systems in the Pioneer Valley. Casa Latina’s 40 year history has allowed its staff to support generations of Latino families meet economic challenges and establish themselves in our community. Their services support the Latino resident at all points in the human life cycle. They assist Spanish-speaking Latino parents to make and attend pre-natal visits, apply for health insurance, obtain WIC services, find child care. They support families to establishing economic security, through assistance with finding and maintaining housing and employment. Casa Latina’s work does not stop when they give residents a resource and phone number; instead they walk with residents through the process of filling out applications, understanding and collecting information, and assisting with calls where language is a barrier. Casa Latina’s culturally competent staff empowers Latino residents to learn how to navigate systems and become more self-sufficient and advocate for other residents in the community.
Casa Latina also reaches this mission through popular education programs, the content of which is driven by the needs expressed by the Latino community in Hampshire County. The educational programming they provide has resulted in development of Latino residents engaging in greater leadership roles within other community organizations; improved health habits and reduction in isolation of Latino elderly residents.
In 2013, Cooley Dickinson provided financial support to continue building the infrastructure needed for tracking referrals, as well as general operations. We also participated in a strategic planning process to assess Casa Latina’s role, structure, and finances.
Provide patient navigation, information and referral, and case management services to Latino residents of Hampshire County.
Latino residents will be able to navigate the local health care system resulting in greater patient satisfaction with it.
• Provide a grant opportunity for a local Latino serving program to develop or enhance patient navigation, information and referral, and case management services.
Cooley Dickinson Hospital • 30 Locust St. (Route 9), Northampton, Mass. • (413) 582-2000