Ensure Language Access in Healthcare

Help us expand protections for people with limited English Proficiency !

Millions of people in the United States speak a language other than English and those with limited English proficiency (LEP) often face discrimination in health care. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing and other people with disabilities may also have trouble communicating with their health care providers and face discrimination.

The Biden administration is considering changes that would enhance non-discrimination protections in health care, including strengthening protections for people with limited English proficiency and people with disabilities.

For limited English proficient individuals and people with communication-related disabilities, language access services are essential in ensuring effective communication.

Your experiences are important to help the federal government (or Office for Civil Rights) understand issues LEP individuals and persons with disabilities still face. By sharing your experiences, you can help us restore and expand language access protections.

How to Comment:

Use the form to submit a comment and tell the government why you support language access. Feel free to tell a little about yourself and share why language access is important to you. You can share your experiences in a few sentences or paragraphs or write a longer comment.

If you are an interpreter or translator:
  • Why is it important that interpreters and translators be qualified

  • What errors have you seen when interpreters, translators and/or bilingual/multilingual staff are not competent

  • What issues have you seen with machine translation/automated translation software?

If you are an interpreter manager:
  • Why is having a language access plan helpful?

  • What happens when individuals don’t know how to request language services?

  • Why is collecting data about individuals’ language and communication needs important for planning your services?

If you support language access or support LEP individuals and people with disabilities:
  • What problems you have seen or heard about when there is a lack of effective communication?

  • What problems have you seen when LEP individuals do not have qualified interpreters?

  • What happens when individuals do not get information about language/communication services?

  • What issues have you seen when interpreters, translators and/or bilingual staff are not qualified?

  • Do you have examples of covered entities using family members, friends, or minors to interpret

  • Have you seen LEP individuals have trouble accessing telehealth?

What is Section 1557 & What Does it Do?

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act provides important protections against discrimination in health care programs and activities based on race, color, national origin (including limited English proficiency and primary language), sex (including pregnancy status and related conditions, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex stereotypes, and sex characteristics, including intersex traits), age, and disability. The Biden Administration has proposed changes that would strengthen Sec. 1557 protections and is accepting public comments through October 3, 2022.

Click here for more Sec. 1557 resources