CA ONLY: Hospital Language Assistance Services in California
On December 15, 2015, the California Department of Public Health posted an “All Facilities Letter” related to Assembly Bill 389. This bill
requires general acute care hospitals to make its language assistance policy available on their websites. The posted notice on the hospital website should be in English and in up to five of the other most commonly spoken languages in the hospital’s service area, and is to be updated as policy changes occur.
Each general acute care hospital is required to have submitted its policy on language assistance to the applicable CDPH District Office no later than July 1, 2016, in addition to posting of the availability of language assistance on their website.
Additionally, every January 1st the hospitals are to provide a copy of their policy and a description of their efforts to ensure communication to patients with language or communication barriers, to the appropriate CDPH District Office.
Remember, as is current regulation, notices on availability of interpreters and telephone numbers where complaints can by registered (including TDD numbers) are to be posted at a minimum in the Emergency Department, the admitting area, at the entrance to the hospital and in outpatient areas. Be sure to review all written forms, waivers,
documents and informational materials available to patients and determine which should be translated into languages other than English.
The full text of the statute is available in Health and Safety Code 1259, Section 1.