New IFR rules include a provision that addresses translation need

As Chanin announced here last week, the Speaking Healthcare blog is now under new management. And she has left some big shoes to fill. But I’m really looking forward to continuing to bring you informative posts on healthcare subjects that explore the industry and how medical translation fits into it. Let me thank you up front for joining me.

I thought I would start with a recent piece of news some may have missed. I’m referring to the announcement of the interim final regulations (IFR) for internal claims and appeals and external review processes under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The rules were put out by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury and include six new requirements. Most important for our purposes with regard to language access is rule number 5.

Called “Enhanced Notice,” it stipulates that a healthcare plan or issuer must provide notice to enrollees in a “culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.” What’s more, if more than an established maximum number of people are only able to speak in a given language, notices in that language are required. A description of available internal appeals and external review processes must also be made available, along with directions about how to begin an appeal. Finally, should additional help be necessary, contact information and the availability of a healthcare insurance ombudsmen must be provided to assist with the internal claims and appeals and external review processes.

It’s exciting to see the language needs of today’s limited English proficient (LEP) patients addressed in such an important context. Model notices for the Enhanced Notice rule are scheduled to be available soon. To review the other new rules, check out this summary.

Until next time,

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