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As part of the Affordable Care Act the Department of Health and Human Services published a final rule to implement Section 1557 which prohibits discrimination in health coverage and care based on race, color, national origin, age, disability and sex. Covered Entities must take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to each individual with Limited English proficiency who is eligible to be served or likely to be encountered in their practice.
Covered Entities must provide free, accurate and timely language assistance service and protect the privacy and independence of an individual with limited English proficiency. This is obtained by offering a qualified interpreter when reasonable for oral communication and use a qualified translator to communicate directly with individuals. The Covered Entity may not rely on bilingual/multilingual staff unless they are a qualified interpreter nor can the Covered Entity require an individual to provide his or her own interpreter.