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Tag: Language barrier

Limited English Proficiency Shouldn’t Mean Limited Health Care

It’s impossible to know exactly what shape healthcare will take for Americans as Congress and President Obama struggle with reform measures in the coming months. But one thing is certain: Those who have limited English proficiency will continue to have more health care services they can understand. Though the U.S. has prohibited discrimination, including language access for limited English proficient persons, since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the reality in the healthcare industry is very different. Whether insured or not, those who don’t speak or read English “very well” tend to have care that’s not as good as those who do.  The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reported that in 2005 only 54 percent of Latinos experiencing an injury or illness had timely access to healthcare, compared to 65 percent of whites. And if uninsured, Latinos got care in only 27 percent of cases.

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