Tag Archive for access

Would You Like to Win a Grant for Free Healthcare Translation?

We at VIA are excited to announce that our 2013 Translation Grant Program is officially open!

In case you didn’t know, our annual translation grant program awards a total of $3,000 of in-kind translation to two healthcare organizations and/or programs that support language access.

Just like our healthcare partners and customers, the VIA team is passionate about improving healthcare access for underserved, limited English proficiency (LEP) communities. We also feel strongly about giving back, so that’s why we have maintained our tradition of awarding translation grants to healthcare organizations that are actively working to decrease disparities and improve communication efforts with their LEP populations.

If this sounds like your organization, we welcome you to apply. The deadline for applications is September 28, 2013 and recipients will be selected by October 18, 2013. Click here to learn more and get the application.

Best of luck!
Leslie

Bridging the Language Gap: A Key Piece to the New Healthcare Marketplace

As I previously mentioned, the upcoming open enrollment season will bring heaps of newly-eligible health consumers, many of whom do not speak English as their native tongue. In fact, the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that as many as one in four new consumers who will apply for health coverage in the new exchange will speak a language other than English in their home. Removing language barriers for LEP populations is a must for states and health insurance providers to truly ensure equal access to information and healthcare services.

With already so much to prepare for by October’s open enrollment date, those involved with the new health exchange may benefit from some quick tips and proven practices on how to best address their new LEP consumers. And fortunately, Families USA and the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) have developed a “Language Access Checklist for Marketplace Implementation”. This checklist provides a full set of recommendations on how to ensure LEP consumers can successfully enroll in, use and retain coverage. And for even more best practices on managing your multilingual healthcare communications as well as your budget, get your copy of our complimentary guide: Beyond Translation: Best Practices for Healthcare here.

Leslie

‘Tis the Season to Start Planning for Open Enrollment

As a result of the Affordable Care Act’s impact on the 2014 landscape, health plans are preparing their mandated documents such as the Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) earlier than usual. The ANOC/EOC is a critical component of your plan as it provides details about coverage, costs and more. This may sound simple enough, but this year insurance plans need to take into account more than just earlier timelines. As a result of the recent reform, 12 million new customers and 11 million small businesses will flood the insurance market in January. Many of these new consumers will come from households that are not only more culturally and linguistically diverse, but that have never had health insurance before.

Navigating the new health exchanges and healthcare system is challenging enough for seasoned professionals, let alone for someone who doesn’t speak English as their first language. And with October and the open enrollment period right around the corner, health plans will soon need to find new strategies to effectively communicate with their new and diverse customers. Bridging the language gap is essential to ensuring diverse communities enjoy equal access to healthcare, because true understanding happens when people can internalize the material in their native language. So whether it’s ANOC/EOC’s, SBC’s, or any of the other numerous communications your plan will soon be sending out, the key is to ensure that you are truly reaching your market in a meaningful, effective way.

Learn more about VIA’s ANOC/EOC translations and how your plan can save up to 20%.

Leslie

ACA Opens the Door to Newly Eligible Populations

It seems like it was just yesterday when we were in the midst of a national election and speculating if the Affordable Care Act was going to move forward as planned.   Fast forward just three months to February and the Final Rule for Essential Health Benefits was issued.  Expanded access through Medicaid expansion and Insurer Markets is a reality and open enrollment is approaching fast.

This expanded access will reach populations that haven’t previously had coverage, and the learning curve will be huge.   I’ve lived in the healthcare system my entire career and I still find the flow charts explaining access to be a bit of a spaghetti diagram.  And that’s just the start—once people determine their eligibility, they will need to make decisions about health plans, navigate enrollment forms, select providers, etc.   This is an excellent opportunity not only to provide care, but also to provide education to new members on wellness, prevention and disease management.  As the immigrant population will comprise a significant percentage of the newly eligible, providing these materials to consumers with limited English proficiency will be critical to improving the experience, outcomes and ultimately population health.

Health literacy is a big concern in our healthcare system affecting both escalating costs and outcomes.  It is particularly prevalent among the elderly, and members of minority or ethnic groups who already face language and cultural barriers.  A few things to keep in mind when creating and translating materials are:  target 6th-8th grade literacy levels, write clearly in active voice, use short sentences, use clear headings, incorporate cultural nuances for LEP populations, and use graphics to help explain concepts. We also find that Q&A formats work well.

I firmly believe it’s up to all of us to simplify the increasing complexity of the health care system!

Karen

Want to learn more about health literacy and how to prepare your health plan for the changing healthcare marketplace? Download and watch our recent webinar, 2012 Health Plan Preparedness.

 

Is Your Plan Ready for the Changing Face of Healthcare?

Not only are health plans facing reform, but as our population continues to diversify, language and cultural barriers continue to complicate matters. Health plans across the nation are preparing for what’s in store for the next two years. In order to succeed in this evolving environment, they need to reassess current strategies and find ways to turn challenges into new opportunities. The healthcare industry must redesign its business models to better capture, serve, and keep a growing class of empowered customers. Healthcare reform has brought more questions than answers, and there’s still much we don’t know. One thing that can certainly be said, however, is that the health plans of tomorrow will not be the same as today. Therefore it is vital they keep members informed, educated and engaged.

Join VIA on February 27 for our next healthcare translation webinar on 2013 Health Plan Preparedness. This complimentary event will highlight features of the health care law that pertain to language access, and will better equip health plans to serve their diverse members.

Attendees will also learn:

  • Trends around legislation, immigration and language populations
  • Prioritizing your budget for the greatest impact
  • Tips for managing content – from healthcare literacy, translation to cultural sensitivity
  • Using print, video and mobile to improve education and engagement

Time’s running out, so reserve your seat now and stay ahead of the curve!

Leslie

Alameda County Access to Care Collaborative putting grant to work to benefit LEP communities

The ability for healthcare organizations to reach healthcare goals has perhaps never been more complex or more challenging. But the reality is that the need to meet those goals has likely never been more critical, especially among limited English proficiency (LEP) communities.

The viaLanguage Healthcare Translation Grant Program is one way we hope to help. The grant reflects our desire to spotlight and support those innovative healthcare organizations that are finding a way to improve access for today’s underserved, ethnic audiences.

Our 2010 grant recipient, the Alameda County Access to Care Collaborative in California, is a prime example. After conducting a baseline assessment of the uninsured in Alameda County in 2009, they concluded that the biggest finding was how challenging it was to gather information, especially amongst the smaller limited-scope providers.

Alameda County Access to Care Collaborative collaborated with a range of partners to develop a website that provides a comprehensive list of clinics, including both free and community clinics, an explanation of the different types of services they offer, and the processes patients must go through to get an appointment with a doctor.

Alameda County Access to Care Collaborative applied its $5,000 of in-kind translation services to the translation of the website into Spanish and Chinese, proving along the way that today’s most pressing healthcare challenges can be overcome. We applaud and congratulate them. Click here to read the entire case study about this project.

Healthcare innovations should not neglect medical translation needs

Among the intentions of the new health reform legislation is an expansion of choice for today’s healthcare consumer. This focus is already casting into sharper relief the imperative for providers to effectively communicate with their audiences, especially its limited English proficient (LEP) audiences.

HealthPartners, a provider and insurer in Minnesota, recently launched a novel remote diagnosis service. Called Virtuwell, the new service is available online, offering treatment for a range of common conditions that don’t typically require an actual exam. These include colds, allergy-related issues, ear pain, yeast and urinary tract infections, and a host of others.

Patients visiting the site are first asked a set of standard questions en route to diagnosis. The answers are then reviewed by a nurse practitioner, who then contacts the patient directly about 30 minutes later.

It is hoped that the service, which costs about $40 and is available to anyone living in or visiting Minnesota, will streamline the process for medical staff, while enabling patients to enjoy more immediate care and assistance and at a lower cost.

On that score it is a laudable effort. But what is not mentioned, and what seems absent after a brief tour of the Virtuwell site, are any language options. In a state that recent census data identifies as being comprised of a population that is 5 percent foreign born (more than 260,000 people), such an option seems like a missed opportunity.

Till next time,
Steve
viaLanguage

Independent healthcare plan helping innovate in Minnesota

These days the issue of healthcare too often tends to devolve into a fractious back and forth about healthcare reform. Unfortunately, this means that all the great and innovative work so many healthcare professionals are doing to better serve patients can be overlooked.

I’m glad that as a part of the work we do at viaLanguage I get to be in regular contact with a great many of these innovators. UCare and its efforts with the Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP) is just one example.

An independent non-profit health plan, (and a viaLanguage client!), UCare provides healthcare and administrative services to more than 160,000 members. It partners with healthcare providers, counties, and community organizations to create and deliver innovative health coverage products addressing a variety of Medicare, special needs plans, and state public programs members.

Part of UCare’s efforts includes offering incentives to clinics and care systems that deliver improved quality of care. This means rewarding providers serving Medicaid beneficiaries enrolled in MHCP, and expanding pay for performance (P4P) to include providers serving Medicare members.

What’s more, UCare’s MHCP P4P Plan and Medicare P4P Plan reward providers that show, within certain identified areas, any improvement over the previous year. It analyzes member health outcomes, while identifying those areas where improvement incentives are warranted. In 2009, UCare made P4P payments to 60 percent of the eligible care systems serving MHCP members.

It’s stories like this that inspire the industry to continue think creatively about meeting patient needs. And that can be powerful indeed. To learn more, check out the full UCare case study.

Till next time,
Steve
viaLanguage

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,
Steve
viaLanguage

Google looking to help fuel global medical translation availability

Google seems to be everywhere these days. Be it discussions with Verizon about the future of the Internet or talks with China about Internet freedom, they are helping drive many important conversations that promise to directly and indirectly impact global communication.

They are also a company whose professed operating principle is “do no harm,” and many of their enterprises seek to demonstrate a commitment to the greater good. That looks to be the intent of a recent announcement by Google’s philanthropic side, Google.org, to help make health-related information available to people around the world, regardless of their language.

Called Health Speaks, the effort intends to use community, crowdsourced, and collaborative translation, tools we’ve addressed in earlier posts here, to promote and facilitate access to health care information. The approach hinges on volunteers, who will be responsible for translating the health-related content.

To help get things started, for each word translated during the first 60 days Google will donate US$0.03 to one of three non-profit organizations—Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt, the Public Health Foundation of India, and the African Medical and Research Foundation—up to total of $150,000.

At present, the project, which launches as a pilot, will only address three languages: Arabic, Hindi, and Swahili. A modest beginning to be sure, the initiative nevertheless represents the growing public awareness that access to health care information remains one of the most important hurdles to wellness across the planet.

Good health!
Chanin
viaLanguage