Patient service agreements are a key part of every hospital and doctor’s office. They demonstrate an understanding between patient and provider on issues such as consent, confidentiality and insurance.
These complex matters often result in even more complex documents. However, it is in every patient’s best interest to thoroughly read and understand their service agreement.
With that in mind, when should a patient service agreement be translated?
Patient Translation Services and Title VI
Ideally, all hospitals and doctor’s offices should provide patient service agreements in the native language of their patients.
In fact, if a health care provider receives federal financial assistance, translation may be required under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Additional guidelines released in 2004 prohibit “National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons.”
Title VI requires that health care providers “take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access to their programs and activities by LEP [Limited English Proficient] persons.”
Additionally, four factors must be weighed when considering what determines “meaningful access” for LEP patients:
With these factors in mind, most federally-funded hospitals and doctor’s offices almost certainly need to translate forms such as patient service agreements. Unless the provider is located in an area without any LEP patients, the translation of such paperwork – not to mention signs, release forms and prescription labels – is likely required by law.
Must Non-Federally Funded Providers Translate Patient Service Agreements?
Some providers do not receive federal funding and are not obligated to adhere to Title VI regulations.
However, in the interest of patient welfare, professional translation of documents such as patient service agreements is still recommended.
There are plenty of benefits and hardly any drawbacks to having multilingual policies in hospitals.
As long as a health care provider serves LEP patients, it is in everyone’s best interest to make use of professional hospital translation services.
Professional Patient Service Agreement Translation
It’s essential than every medical and legal translation be performed by a qualified translation service. A professional team comprised of translators with legal and medical expertise, copy editors and proofreaders is the best way to make sure that patient service agreements are translated as accurately as possible.
Improved communication is integral to better care for patients, which is every health care provider’s goal. Obtaining proper patient service agreement translations, as well as translations of all other necessary medical documents, is critical to achieving this.