Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act
Section 1557 is the Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities Act, a rule by the Health and Human Services Department, requiring the provision of a qualified interpreter versus a competent one. The act expressly bars the use of an untrained or ad hoc interpreter barring extreme circumstances.
HHS Summary of Section 1557, Translated Resources & Factsheets
This resource, provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, offers a summary of Section 1557, translated resources and factsheets for hospitals.
The Legal Framework for Language Access in Healthcare Settings: Title VI and Beyond
Compiled by the San Francisco General Hospital, University of California, National Health Law Program and Center for Genetics and Society, this resource provides a detailed description of the federal regulations surrounding language access in health care, existing state laws and recent legal developments in addressing language barriers. The resource also includes an analysis of key initiatives for hospitals to improve health care for LEP patients.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act (1964)
The act requires services provided with the funding from the federal government to be delivered without regard to race, color, or national origin. Specific to language services, “the Executive Order requires Federal agencies to examine the services they provide, identify any need for services to those with limited English proficiency (LEP), and develop and implement a system to provide those services so LEP persons can have meaningful access to them.”
Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)
The ADA is one of the most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation prohibiting discrimination. The act guarantees people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life, e.g., enjoy employment opportunities, purchase goods and services and participate in state and local government programs and services.
The Hill Burton Act
The Hill-Burton Act, enacted by Congress in 1946, encouraged the construction and modernization of public and nonprofit community hospitals and health centers. In return for receiving these funds, recipients agreed to comply with a “community service obligation” which included a rule of non-discrimination in the delivery of services. The Office of Civil Rights has consistently interpreted this as an obligation to provide language assistance to those in need of such services.