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Section 1557 and Language Access: Provide Qualified Interpreters

ACA Section 1557 bans discrimination based on association, meaning providers must supply interpreters as-needed to patients’ families, spouses, or partners.


resource thumbnailSection 1557 mandates that providers “take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access toeach individual with limited English proficiency eligible to be served or likely to be encountered in its health programs and activities.” It also bans discrimination based on association, meaning providers must supply interpreters as-needed to their patients’ families, spouses, or partners.

Hospitals may find it impractical to staff full-time interpreters for all possible languages, so many leading healthcare organizations “take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access” by partnering with a language services provider like CyraCom, which can supply interpreters via phone or video chat in hundreds of languages.

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