Section 940.120  Language Assistance Services


A health facility shall ensure access to health care information and services for limited-English-speaking or non-English-speaking residents or patients or deaf residents or patients.  To meet this requirement, a health facility shall do the following:


a)         Adopt and review annually a policy for providing language assistance services to patients or residents with language or communication barriers.  The policy shall include procedures for providing, to the extent possible as determined by the facility, the use of an interpreter whenever a language or communication barrier exists, except where the patient or resident, after being informed of the availability of the interpreter service, chooses to use a family member or friend who volunteers to interpret.  The procedures shall be designed to maximize efficient use of interpreters and minimize delays in providing interpreters to patients or residents.  The procedures shall ensure, to the extent possible as determined by the facility, that interpreters are available, either on the premises or accessible by telephone, 24 hours a day.  The facility shall annually transmit to the Department of Public Health a copy of the updated policy and shall include a description of the facility’s efforts to ensure adequate and speedy communication between patients or residents with language or communication barriers and staff.


b)         Develop, and post in conspicuous locations, notices that advise patients or residents and their families of the availability of interpreters, the procedure for obtaining an interpreter, and the telephone numbers to call for filing complaints concerning interpreter service problems, including, but not limited to, a TTY number for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.  In a hospital, the notices shall be posted, at a minimum, in the emergency room, the admitting area, the facility entrance, and the outpatient area.  In a long-term care facility, the notices shall be posted in the facility entrance.  Notices shall inform patients or residents that interpreter services are available on request, shall list the languages most commonly encountered at the facility for which interpreter services are available, and shall instruct patients to direct complaints regarding interpreter services to the Department of Public Health, including the telephone numbers to call for that purpose.


c)         Notify the facility's employees of the language services available at the facility and train them on how to make these language services available to patients or residents.  In addition, a health facility may do one or more of the following:


1)         Identify and record a patient's or resident's primary language and dialect on one or more of the following:  a patient medical chart, hospital bracelet, bedside notice, or nurse card.


2)         Prepare and maintain, as needed, a list of interpreters who have been identified as proficient in sign language according to the Interpreter for the Deaf Licensure Act of 2007 and a list of the languages of the population of the geographical area served by the facility.


3)         Review all standardized written forms, waivers, documents, and informational materials available to patients or residents on admission to determine which to translate into languages other than English.


4)         Consider providing its nonbilingual staff with standardized picture and phrase sheets for use in routine communications with patients or residents who have language or communication barriers.


5)         Develop community liaison groups to enable the facility and the limited-English-speaking, non-English-speaking, and deaf communities to ensure the adequacy of the interpreter services.  (Section 15 of the Act)


(Source:  Amended at 33 Ill. Reg. 8484, effective June 2, 2009)