Language Services November 26, 2021

GETS & WPS Programs Help Providers Ensure Language Access is Available Amidst Natural Disasters

When disaster strikes, communities quickly exhaust resources available for medical response. Natural disasters can knock out power supplies and communication systems, creating an additional hurdle for hospitals to care for large influxes of patients impacted by storm surge, wind speed, falling trees and other dangerous threats. When emergencies take place, patient numbers and care requirements can challenge or exceed a community’s ability to provide adequate patient care. With a comprehensive emergency management plan in place, hospitals are prepared to better respond to a community’s health care needs. Part of that includes maintaining access to language services for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Limited English Proficient patients.

We Work Where and When Others Don’t

AMN Healthcare Language Services is an authorized user of both the GETS and WPS programs and has been deemed an essential organization in the event of a national disaster, giving us the ability to provide our clients with  the best connectivity available even when disaster strikes. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security further defines the two programs as follows:

  • GETS – provides priority access and prioritized processing in the local and long-distance segments of the landline networks, greatly increasing the probability of call completion.
  • WPS – is intended to be used in an emergency or crisis situation when the wireless network is congested and the probability of completing a normal call is reduced.

These programs can be incredibly advantageous during a major disaster or attack resulting in congestion of public telecommunications networks from high call volume and/or damage to the telecommunications infrastructure.

Learn more about our video remote interpretation platform and what sets it apart here.

Tip for Providers: Brief the Interpreter for Optimal Efficiency

When using an interpreter in an emergency situation, it is important for the interpreter to understand the trauma that patients may have experienced prior to the hospital visit and how this can potentially impact their communication delivery. Post trauma, patients tend to have more difficulty processing information. Cognitive processing often declines in the days following trauma, particularly when challenged with processing new information like after care plans. Medical interpreters are trained on best practices for a wide range of hospital encounters, including the treatment of patients involved in mass emergency situations.

When hospitals encounter a higher number of LEP patients than typical due to an emergency, time is of the essence. Video remote interpretation provides immediate access to medically qualified interpreters in a wide variety of languages. Choosing a platform backed by GETS and WPS programs helps ensure your non-English speaking patients have access to language services even when disaster strikes. Learn more about our interpreters, how quickly they can be accessed and how they can be utilized to better fulfill your emergency preparedness plan.