It’s time to celebrate! September 15th marks the beginning of Latinx Heritage Month and continues through October 15th. This is a time to recognize and celebrate all the wonderful contributions, diverse cultures, and histories of the Latinx community. There are several Latin American countries that are celebrating their Independence Day during the month of September: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Chile. There are many ways in which this month has been celebrated; through festivals, conferences, and art shows, just to name a few. Individuals can find many activities to recognize Latinx Heritage Month.
Here at the Department of Health Services (LA Health Services), we are grateful to serve a diverse patient population including our Latinx patients, who make up 63% of our patient population. Moreover, in 2021-22, Health Services reported that 54% of total patient-visits, patients preferred to get their medical care in a language other than English. That is a total of 1,451,099 non-English preferred speaking visits! These numbers provide a picture of how critical language access services are in the provision of high-quality care to our patients.
At LA Health Services, we make Language Access Service a priority. In order to ensure that we care for the language needs of our patients, we have many language-access services readily available. The services that we offer include:
- Telephonic/Audio Interpreting
- Video Interpreting
- Face-to-Face Interpreting
Real time telephonic services (link is available for Health Services staff only) are available on-demand, 24 hours a day/7 days a week at all of our sites and across programs. Video services are also available on-demand, 24 hours a day/7 days a week at every Medical Center and at every health center for American Sign Language (ASL). We also have more than 80 dedicated Healthcare Interpreter positions. These services are available to our patients at no cost! One LA General Medical Center patient, who uses our language services says, “I feel more comfortable and like a part of a family. I understand more and am very satisfied with the treatment that I receive.”
In addition, our workforce is an incredible resource in meeting the language needs of our patients. Bilingual certified staff at LA Health Services are 93% Spanish-speaking. What an incredible value in serving our patients, since over 90% of Non-English preferred speaking patients are Spanish-speaking.
LA Health Services staff and patients, continue to share how critical and impactful having language services available has been to them. One LA General Medical Center physician said, “I feel so much better about my patient care when in-person interpreters are part of our care team.” Our Healthcare Interpreters and Qualified Bilingual Staff are an important part of our language access services delivery system, and they also have positive experiences in doing this work. Victor Quiroz, Health Services Healthcare Interpreter, says, “I am happy to continue providing interpreting and translation services to our patients and community.” Our valuable staff, combined with the most up-to-date interpreting technology, help to bridge the language gap to meaningful access for the patients and communities that we happily serve.