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Salem Hospital to have access to interpreters

Friday, April 10, 2009

Salem Township Hospital will become one of the first four hospitals in the state, and the only one outside of Chicago, to have access to interpreters for patients. The Director of Risk Management and Quality Sherrie Hopkins says the hospital has purchased $10,000 in video conferencing equipment for the new system she expects will be installed in the next month.

"We'll have immediate access to an interpreter. That can be for any foreign language. The service allows for up to 172 different foreign languages as well as access to a sign language interpreter. We would dial into this system and let them know what foreign language or sign language needs that we have, and we would have an interpreter within minutes that can communicate with the patient," said Hopkins.

Hopkins says the service coordinated by the Metropolitan Chicago Health Care Counsel will assure patients who have trouble hearing or are deficient in English can understand the care they are receiving as well as their options. The Illinois Critical Access Network, which Salem Township Hospital is a member, is pushing for use of the service to comply with a new state law that went into effect in January. Hopkins says they don't have a high volume of patients who don't speak English, but the access will be very useful with those brought into the hospital from incidents on Interstate 57.

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