Understanding equitable access to interpretive services in healthcare in Kansas

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Medina, Melissa
Colcher, Drew
Showstack, Rachel E.
Keene Woods, Nikki
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Medina, Melissa; Colcher, Drew. 2023. Understanding equitable access to interpretive services in healthcare in Kansas. -- In Proceedings: 19th Annual Symposium on Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects. Wichita, KS: Wichita State University

Introduction: There is an increasing need in Kansas for qualified healthcare interpreters as the demographics continue to become more diverse. Patients with limited English proficiency are considered a vulnerable population. They experience medical errors with worse clinical outcomes compared to English speakers. Per the Affordable Care Act, most healthcare facilities must provide qualified interpreters for individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP). A community-based project funded by the U.S. Office of Minority Health works to understand barriers and improve language access across Kansas. Purpose: To determine how health service providers in southeast, south-central, and southwest Kansas provide interpretive services and to better ensure effective communication for LEP patients. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was developed based on a previous survey by the National Health Law Program (NHeLP). The pilot survey included 18 questions on how health organizations are paid or reimbursed for interpretation services and the quality of the service each individual receives. The survey will be administered to primary care providers, health service providers, and health service organizations. A snowball recruiting strategy will be used to recruit participants via email and newsletters. The study timeframe will be from January 2023 to April 2023. Descriptive statistics will be used to summarize the findings. Results: The anticipated findings include additional information on the quantity and quality of interpretive services available across the southern regions of Kansas. We aim to determine whether language access plans that provide certified interpretive services during visits are in place at clinics and hospitals in Southern Kansas. We expect to find more information on the barriers to interpreting services in a clinical setting. Conclusion: To ensure better healthcare services and health outcomes for individuals with limited English proficiency, it is essential to increase the availability of interpretive services in healthcare settings. Education and training for healthcare workers and organizations can help improve health equity in an increasingly diverse community.

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Presented to the 19th Annual Symposium on Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects (GRASP) held at the Rhatigan Student Center, Wichita State University, April 14, 2023.
Research completed in the Department of Public Health Sciences, College of Health Professions and Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Wichita State University
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v. 19
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