A provision of federal healthcare reform may make it easier for immigrants to deal with language barriers.
Under the Affordable Care Act, California is eligible to receive $270 million to set up an interpreter program for Medi-cal patients.
The state would have to contribute 30 million dollars. The money would fund the program for three years.
Maximus Weikel is with Interpreting for California, which is urging the state to put up its share of the money. He says it would cover common languages, and those that are less well known in the United States.
“Some of the languages are much less represented, for example, Mien. But there would be Mien interpreters available. This would mean that, even for the smaller language groups, the groups that are especially vulnerable, interpreters would be more readily available,” says Weikel.
About 7,000 interpreters would be hired through the program.
Legislation pending in the state Senate would allow California to take advantage of the federal money.