Health Law Blog: OCR Launches Nationwide Review of CAH Language Access Policies

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The Office of Civil Rights for Health and Human Services is launching a nationwide review of the language access policies of critical access hospitals following a 10 state review in 2012. These reviews will include an examination of demographic data from the hospital’s service area, onsite visits, an evaluation of the hospital’s language access services policies and procedures, interviews of hospital staff and community stakeholders and corrective action if compliance issues are discovered. A copy of the announcement as well as a summary of OCR’s findings during its 2012 reviews can be accessed here.

Critical access hospitals should review their language access policies and procedures to ensure they are in compliance with federal requirements. Policies and procedures should include a specific needs assessment identifying the language needs of the hospital’s patient population, notification of the availability of free language access services, written translation of vital documents, staff training, consultation with community stakeholders, and accessibility of digital information.