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Texas Governor Rick Perry addresses language access issues in Texas Healthcare

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Texas Governor Rick Perry Signs Bill Establishing a Committee to Oversee Healthcare Interpreter Qualifications

Houston, TX, June 25, 2009 --(PR.com)-- On June19th, 2009 Governor Rick Perry signed a bill establishing a committee to oversee Healthcare Interpreter Qualifications. The bill will establish a committee representing multiple stakeholder groups to ensure effective communication within health care for the 6.8 million Texas residents that speak a language other than English in the home.

The bill is the first step in addressing the billions of dollars lost annually as a result of patients not understanding what doctors are communicating to them and will help ensure that disparities in health status and access can begin to be eliminated.

The bill affects both sign language and foreign language interpreters, and may affect how healthcare providers classify and utilize bilingual staff.

The unanimous support of the bill by the Texas Senate and subsequent signature of the Governor underline the support the Texas legislature is giving the Texas healthcare community.

The Texas Association of Healthcare Interpreters and Translators (TAHIT) applauds the Texas Legislature and specifically Governor Perry for his vision in ensuring competent communication between physicians and their limited English proficient patients. Establishing uniform qualifications for healthcare interpreters will begin to alleviate the difficulties Inherent in providing healthcare services for these patients.

Research indicates that up to 31 errors per patient encounter occur when utilizing untrained staff to facilitate multilingual communication. Such errors result in adverse outcomes, increased liability, and substantial fiscal waste.

For more information please contact:

Doug Green
Director of Outreach
Texas Association of Healthcare Interpreters and Translators (TAHIT)
713-817-1260
dougegreen@gmail.com
www.tahit.us
 

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