Your Legal Risks When Patients Don't Speak English Well

March 1, 2018

A Growing Number of Patients With Limited English

Physicians face a tradeoff choice when they treat patients who don't speak English well. Providing high-quality interpretation and translation involves extra costs, but cutting corners to avoid those costs can lead to substantial clinical and legal risks.

Basically, doctors are expected to provide interpreters and translate documents for free for patients who are designated "limited English proficient" (LEP)—a term that the US Census Bureau uses to classify anyone over age 5 years who reports speaking English less than "very well."

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