How do I get an Interpreter for Medical Appointments?
person who calls to make a medical appointment for you should always tell the
office assistant or healthcare provider that you will need an
interpreter. If an interpreter is not requested at the time the
appointment is scheduled, the clinic may not have an interpreter ready
when you come. That means you may then have to make an appointment
for another day.
Friends or Relatives as Interpreters
should not be used as health care interpreters. This is wrong for
both you and the child. Using family members or friends as
interpreters might keep you from getting good care, because they may not have
the special skills and knowledge that medical interpreters have. Also, your
medical information is confidential (private).
relatives or children may make mistakes that could lead to wrong diagnoses or
other problems. Their feelings may get in the way, causing them to
change or add information. It may not be appropriate for friends,
relatives or children to tell you bad news and they may not give you all the
information you need about your diagnosis or treatment plans.
to do if an Interpreter is Not Available
health care worker tells you to bring your own interpreter, tell them that the
law may require that an interpreter be provided. If they do not
have someone who speaks your language on their staff, ask them to phone the
Language Line at 1-800-874-9426, or another phone interpreter service.
If the provider refuses to give you an interpreter, you have the right to
file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights at 1-800-368-1019.
You do not have to tell your name when
you file a complaint.