Performance Improvement 2006. A Patient-Centered Guide to Implementing Language Access Services in Health Care Organizations


The purpose of this project was to develop a “Health Care Language Services Implementation Guide” (HCLSIG) that provides practical, action-oriented, ground-level suggestions and alternatives for how health care organizations can implement language access services for Limited English Proficiency (LEP) individuals, and that also serves as a companion piece to Office of Minority Health (OMH)’s National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS). This implementation guide was intended to meet the needs of a variety of physician practice settings and health care organizations, including community health centers, clinics, hospitals, mental health institutions, dental offices, long-term care facilities, substance abuse treatment centers, and the like. It was also intended to be patient- centered and family-focused, regardless of the type of clinical setting in which patients and families receive health care services. The guide was developed collaboratively with input from a wide range of experts representing the field of language services, provider groups and health care entities, and  patients. It contains four steps and six resource units that provide guidance on the process of implementing Language Access Services (LAS) at a health care organization. The first two steps involve assessment. The third step focuses on the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the various components of LAS. The fourth and final step provides a detailed discussion of specific methods for monitoring, evaluation, and improving the organization’s LAS. Each step and resource unit describes two case studies that depict a situation and reactions to the situation from patient and provider perspectives. The placement of the cases is designed to help readers apply what they have learned through the guide content. Placed at the beginning of each step and resource unit, Case 1 illustrates what an organization and its patients might experience in a setting where LAS are not well established. Case 1 is followed by a brief synopsis of the patient’s perspective as well as the provider’s perspective. Placed at the end of each step and resource unit, Case 2 illustrates what an organization and its patients might experience in a setting where LAS are better established as compared with Case 1. Case 2 is also followed by a brief synopsis of both the patient and provider’s perspectives. Each step and resource unit concludes with a summary of insights from the cases that illustrate the benefits of LAS for health care organizations. The guide provides emphasis on patient-centered care by highlighting the process a patient and his or her family members go through when seeking health care services, specifically at each point of contact throughout the delivery of a continuum of care. This guide should be beneficial to not only providers but to LEP patients as well.

PIC ID: 7864; Agency Sponsor: OPHS-OMH, Office of Minority Health; Federal Contact: Pacheco, Guadalupe, 240-453-2882; Performer: American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC

View full report


"pi_2006.pdf" (pdf, 1.39Mb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®