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Language access plan

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Introduction

As part of ensuring meaningful access to programs and services, the California Health and Human Services Agency (CalHHS) adopted a Language Access Policy on May 22, 2023, which requires each CalHHS department or office's programs to develop a Language Access Plan. The goal of this work is to ensure that CalHHS and its departments and offices provide meaningful access to information, programs, benefits, and services to people with limited English proficiency (LEP) and ensure that language is not a barrier to accessing vital health and social services.​

This document is California Department of Public Health's (CDPH) Language Access Plan. In developing this Plan, we reviewed our programs and services for the public, the ways we communicate with members of the public and the people we serve, and how we provide information and services in languages other than English.

Department Programs and Services

The mission of the CDPH is to advance the health and well-being of California's diverse people and communities.

The programs and services we provide to the public are:​

The Center for Preparedness and Response (CPR)​​

CPR provides overall statewide planning and preparedness for public health disasters and emergencies, distributing and monitoring funding for disaster planning at the local level, operating the Medical Health Coordination Center, developing, and maintaining a standard public health and medical emergency management system for local and state entities. CPR programs include:

  • Medical and Health Coordination Center (MHCC) Readiness Unit: MHCC is both an Emergency Operations Center shared by three California health departments (CDPH, EMSA, DHCS) and a coordination center for state level public health and medical activities involving multiple departments within the California Health and Human Services Agency, regional, and local stakeholders.​
  • CDPH Duty Officer Program (DO): provides a 24/7 public health agency contact for local health departments and other state departments. The target audience are health departments and other state agencies.

The Center for Healthy Communities (CHC)

CHC provides the prevention and control of chronic diseases, to reduce the prevalence of obesity, reduce tobacco use and improve oral health. CHC provides training programs for public health workforce, promote and support safe and healthy environments in communities and workplaces, and prevent substance and gambling addiction. CHC programs include:

  • California Tobacco Control Branch (CTPP): CTPP works to improve the health of all Californians by reducing illness and premature death attributable to the use of tobacco products. CTPP empowers statewide and local health agencies to promote health and quality of life by advocating social norms that create a tobacco-free environment.
  • Environmental Health Investigations Branch (EHIB): EHIB provides information that can help reduce human exposure to harmful environmental risks. EHIB provides protection to the health of all Californians by identifying environmental hazards, partnering with communities to build their capacity, and promoting healthy environments.
  • Injury and Violence Prevention Branch (IVPB): IVPB provides assistance to Californians by ensuring that everyone has a safe place in which to live, work, play, and fully participate in all activities of daily life free of violence or injury.  The Injury and Violence Prevention (IVP) Branch is the focal point for the CDPH's injury prevention efforts, both epidemiological investigations and implementation of prevention programs to reduce intentional and unintentional injuries. 
  • Nutrition and Physical Activity Branch (NPAB) (formerly NEOPB): NPAB provides Californians with incomes at or below 185% of the Federal Poverty Level assistance with healthy eating and active living, food and security efforts and chronic disease prevention.
  • Occupational Health Branch (OHB): OHB provides health and safety by working to prevent injury or illness on the job through prevention activities.
  • Chronic Disease Surveillance and Research Branch (CDSRB): CDSRB/California Cancer Registry (CCR) provides translation brochures (California Cancer Reporting System and Cancer Research in California) to public health practitioners and qualified researchers; conducting chronic disease surveillance; and communicating surveillance results to the public. CDSRB/CCR also provides patient information brochures to the public and patients to inform them of the California's mandated reporting for the CCR, California Parkinson's Disease Registry (CPDR) and California Neurodegenerative Disease Registry (CNDR).
  • Substance and Addiction Prevention Branch (SAPB): SAPB provides services to reduce individual, social, and environmental harms caused by substance-related and addictive disorders. People with limited English proficiency are provided direct service through SAPB's Office of Problem Gambling, which provides prevention education and no-cost treatment to help Californians struggling with or impacted by problem gambling.
  • Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch (CLPPB): CLPPB provides the elimination of childhood lead poisoning by identifying and caring for children who are lead poisoned and preventing environmental exposures to lead. Our target audience includes low-income families (including families enrolled in publicly funded programs like Medi-Cal, WIC), families living or spending time in older homes or in neighborhoods with environmental risk factors for lead exposure, newcomer families (refugees), and families who spend time outside of the United States.
  • Office of School Health (OSH): OSH provides advanced health, wellness, and safe in-person instruction for California's 7.5 million students and staff within the state's 10,000 TK-12 schools. OSH supports local education and health stakeholders with their efforts to make California schools healthier and safer. ​
  • Office of Oral Health (OOH): OOH provides improvement to oral health of all Californians through prevention, education, and organized community efforts. OOH provides strategic advice and leadership to oral health stakeholders throughout the state, building oral health workforce capacity and infrastructure, and implementing and evaluating evidence-based best practices in oral disease prevention.

The Center for Infectious Diseases (CID)

CID provides the prevention and control of infectious diseases such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), tuberculosis, viral hepatitis, influenza and other vaccine preventable illnesses, emerging infections, vector-borne disease, sexually transmitted diseases (STD), infant botulism, and foodborne illnesses.

  • California Office of Binational Border Health: (OBBH): OBBH provides facilitation between health officials and health professionals in California and Mexico, to reduce the risk of disease in the California border region and in those areas directly affected by border health conditions.
  • Office of Refugee Health (ORH): OHR provides culturally and linguistically-appropriate comprehensive health assessments, and other health services, to newly arrived refugees, asylees, victims of severe forms of human trafficking (federally-certified), and other eligible entrants to assist them by becoming and staying healthy.
  • Division of Communicable Disease (DCDC)/Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Control Branch (STDCB): DCDC/STD/STDCB provides services to reduce the transmission and impact of sexually transmitted infections (STI), mpox, and viral hepatitis in California, particularly among communities disproportionately affected by these infections. The STD Control Branch also supports equitable STI, mpox, and viral hepatitis prevention and control efforts by pr oviding statewide leadership, policy, guidelines, training, technical assistance, surge capacity, and outbreak response; and by supporting safety-net service delivery in priority settings and populations.
  • CAlCONNECT Branch (CalCONNECT): CalCONNECT provides and maintains the CalCONNECT system which supports case investigation, case management, outbreak response, contact tracing, and public health communication activities necessary for California's Local Health Jurisdictions (LHJs) to fulfill many of the ten essential public health services developed by the Public Health National Center for Innovations. The target audience for these services are Californians infected with, or at risk of becoming infected with, the infectious disease conditions supported by CalCONNECT.
  • Office of AIDS (OA)-HIV Prevention Branch (OA): OA provides community needs and gaps collaboration with the California Planning Group to develop, implement, and revise a comprehensive HIV/STD/HCV surveillance, prevention, and care and treatment plan, which integrates with STD, HCV, and Harm reduction.
  • Office of AIDS (OA)-AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Assistance Program (PrEP-AP): ADAP provides assistance to ensure people living with HIV and AIDS in California, who are uninsured or under-insured, have access to medication. ADAP pays the prescription costs for medication on the ADAP Formulary for eligible individuals. The Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Assistance Program (PrEP-AP) works to increase PrEP accessibility and uptake for eligible Californians and ensures underserved, at-risk Californians have access to medical care and services to prevent new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections.
  • Center for Infectious Diseases- Guidance and Policy (CID): The CID Guidance and Policy section provides language services for all population in the State of California to translate and provide COVID resources in more languages to all audiences referring to COVID-19 CDPH Guidance Policies.​

The Center for Family Health (CFH)

CFH provides improvement to the health and well-being of pregnant people, children and youth as well as reduce disparities in perinatal health outcomes by providing nutritional support and screening newborns and pregnant women for genetic diseases. CFH programs include:

  • Women, Inf​ants, and Children (WIC): WIC provides assistance to families across the state by providing nutrition education, breastfeeding support, healthy foods and referrals to health care and other community services.
  • Maternal, Child, and Adolescent (MCAH): MCAH provides strategies to improve health and well-being, support the development of children and adolescents, and foster well-being and equity across the reproductive life course.
  • Genetic Disease Screening Program (GDSP): GDSP provides protection and improves the health of all Californians by reducing the emotional and financial burden of disability and death caused by genetic and congenital disorders.​

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH)​

CEH works to protect and improve the health of all California residents by utilizing investigation, inspection, laboratory, technical assistance, regulatory and/or emergency response activities to improve the safety of food, drugs, medical devices; conduct underage tobacco enforcement; oversee the use of radiation and radioactive materials; regulate medical waste; and conduct other environmental management programs.


The Center for Health Care Quality (CHCQ)

CHCQ provides regulatory oversight and monitoring for the quality of care in public and private health facilities, clinics, and agencies throughout the state; licenses nursing home administrators, and certifies nurse assistants, home health aides, and hemodialysis technicians; and oversees the prevention, surveillance, and reporting of healthcare associated infections in California's health facilities.

  • Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI): HAI oversees the prevention, surveillance, an d reporting of HAI and antimicrobial resistance (AR) in California's hospitals and other healthcare facilities. 
  • Licensing and Certification (L&C): L&C provides protection for patient safety and ensure quality care for all patients and residents of the more than 11,000 health care facilities we regulate in California. L &C ensure compliance with state licensing laws and federal certification regulations in our role as the state survey agency for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for which we certify facilities to receive Medicare and Medi-Cal reimbursements. They also oversee the certification and/or licensing of four types of health-care professionals: nurse assistants, home health aides, hemodialysis technicians and nursing home administrators.​

The Center for Health Statistics and Informatics (CHSI)

CHSI provides improvement of public health by managing information systems and facilitating the collection, validation, analysis, and dissemination of health statistics and demographic information on California's population.

  • Vital Records Data and Statistics (Data and Statistics): Data and Statistics provide coverage for a wide variety of health topics suitable for community health assessments, research for government and private studies, and public inquiry. 
  • Vital Records (CDPH-VR): CDPH-VR provides birth, death, fetal death/still birth, marriage, and divorce records for California. Services provided by CDPH-VR include issuing certified copies of California vital records and registering and amending vital records as authorized by law.

Office of Professional Development & Engagement (OPDE)

OPDE provides equitable access and promotes organizational excellent and empowerment to resources and development opportunities for CDPH staff, partners, and stakeholders. OPDE supports a culture of excellence and quality performance through the following: development and training opportunities, health and wellness programs, professional leadership training, quality improvement training, results-based accountability training, strategic planning, recognizing and celebrating the accomplishment of staff, maintaining the public health library, maintaining public health accreditation, and sponsoring the department's internship program.

  • Language Access and Procurement Unit (LAPU): LAPU provides support to CDPH for language access services by maintaining the Language Line Services agreement and various translation and interpretation agreements.​

The Center for Laboratory Sciences (CLS)

CLS provides oversight for clinical and public health laboratory operations and clinical and public health laboratory personnel and is responsible for issuing licenses and certificates.


The Office of Health Equity (OHE)

OHE provides a key leadership role in advancing physical and mental health disparities in California. OHE works with communities and across sectors to address the root causes of health inequities, including but not limited to climate change and racial injustice, and to embed health and equity considerations into the decision-making process. OHE has three operational units: Community Development and Engagement, Health Equity Policy and Planning, and Health Research & Statistics.


The Regional Public Health Offices (RPHO)

RPHO provides for the allocation and implementation of more than 200 million dollars in local assistance funds to build a public health infrastructure in every corner of California. This investment is intended to fill in the gaps that were clearly seen during the COVID-19 emergency.​


Office of Communications (COMMS)

COMMS provides strategic direction for internal and external communications for CDPH. COMMS is responsible for overseeing and approving all external communications, including the public facing website, internal facing website (myCDPH), social media channels, and media relations.​


California Conference of Local Health Officers (CCLHO)

CCLHO provides a state/local forum for the discussion of significant health issues to develop recommendations for appropriate health policy. Its various program committees consider technical and policy issues in communicable disease control and prevention; chronic disease and injury prevention; environmental health; health equity; and maternal, child and adolescent health.​​


Language Access Requirements

In planning for how to provide meaningful language access moving forward, CDPH reviewed the following four factors for each of our programs: 
  • Number or proportion of LEP persons eligible to be served or likely to be encountered by the program or service.
  • Frequency with which LEP individuals come into contact with the program.
  • Nature and importance of the program, activity, or service.
  • Resources available to our department and costs of language services.
 We also considered the specific requirements in the CalHHS Language Access Policy and any other program-specific laws or requirements, including, but not limited to:
  • Title VI of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in any program or activity that receives federal funds or other federal financial assistance.
  • California’s Dymally-Alatorre Bilingual Services Act, as stated in Government Code Section 7290-7299.8, establishes minimum requirements for language access by requiring public agencies involved in furnishing information or rendering services to the public, to employ a sufficient number of qualified bilingual employees in public contact positions and requires certain written material to be translated into frequently encountered preferred languages.
  • Government Code Section 11135 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, ethnic group identification, age, mental disability, physical disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, or sexual orientation, be unlawfully denied full and equal access to the benefits, or be unlawfully subjected to discrimination under, any program or activity that is conducted, operated, or administered by the state or by any state agency, funded directly by the state, or receives any finance assistance from the state.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act Title II (ADA) of 1990 prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s disability in services, programs, and activities provided by state and local government entities.
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act states that “no qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall be excluded from, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under” any program or activity that either receives federal financial assistance or is conducted by any executive agency.
  • California Civil Rights Act, also known as the Unruh Act of 1959, prohibits discrimination by agencies that receives state funds and requires them to provide equal access to benefits without regard to the individual’s race, color, national origin including language, or ethnic group identification among other classifications.
Please note that this plan does not address CDPH’s process for conducting or reporting on the biennial language survey required under the Dymally Alatorre Bilingual Services Act.

 Providing Notice to People with LEP and Identifying Language Preference

This section includes how CDPH notifies the public about available language access services. Below is a check list of tools CDPH uses to notify the public of these services.
  • “I Speak” cards or posters at public reception desks.
  • Translated notices in public waiting areas in the following languages:
    • Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean.
  • Translated taglines on English language forms.
  • Translated taglines on department program websites.
  • Other: Social media post directed at LEP individuals in their languages.
CDPH utilizes intake forms to gather and document individuals' language preferences. These forms allow individuals to specify their preferred language for communication and assistance. By integrating this information into their data, the Department ensures that language needs are identified and addressed throughout interactions with the public and program participants.

Language Services 

This section includes how the CDPH provides information and services in languages other than English.

Direct In-Language Communication

CDPH Office of Compliance maintains a current listing of certified bilingual employees on the CDPH intranet site to assist employees with language services.  To secure direct in-language services from a CalHR certified bilingual employee to provide a member of the public assistance, please contact the supervisor of the bilingual employee for the bilingual employee’s assistance.
If a certified bilingual employee is not available for the requested language, CDPH utilizes the Language Line Services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to provide the requested language communication.
The Office of Professional Developments and Engagement’s (OPDE) Language Access and Procurement Unit (LAPU) reviews the listing quarterly and works with the Office of Compliance to ensure timely updates.  Bilingual employees on this list should not be used for written translations or oral interpretation and should only engage in direct in-language communication with members of the public.
Only certified bilingual employees are permitted to communicate with the public in languages other than English.  CDPH managers and supervisors are responsible for ensuring the bilingual certification of their respective staff. To be certified, an employee must pass a bilingual fluency examination, that aligns with CalHR Human Resources Manual, Section 1003 – “Language Proficiency Scoring - Bilingual Position Qualification.” CDPH, as well as various organizations throughout the State, including private testing firms, universities, and community colleges provide language fluency testing services.

Interpretation

CDPH maintains an over the phone interpreter service with Language Line Services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year that provides access to over 170+ languages. CDPH staff can access this service by visiting the Bilingual Services section of the MyCDPH intranet site. CDPH maintains ASL interpreter services with a service provider.  CDPH employees can request in-person interpretation services by contacting the LAPU at CDPHLanguageAccess@cdph.ca.gov.

 Written Translations

CDPH maintains a written translation service with a service provider available to all programs within the Department. CDPH staff may access the service by contacting the LAPU at CDPHLanguageAccess@cdph.ca.gov.
Vital documents are paper or electronic written material that contains information that is critical for accessing CDPH programs or activities or is required by law. Examples of vital documents include, but are not limited to:
  • Translation of critical outreach materials explaining the availability of services
  • Program applications
  • Notices regarding eligibility or benefits
  • Notices about participant rights and responsibilities
  • Information about the availability of free language assistance services
  • Critical information regarding a declared state of emergency
  • Hearing notices 
A list of vital documents is referenced at the end of the Language Access Policy.
The essential content on CDPH’s website contains information about CDPH and its programs and services; translated, at minimum, into the five threshold languages including taglines in the threshold languages advising of the availability of free oral interpretation services and written translations. The basic information also includes ASL video clips describing the Department and advising on the availability of free sign language interpretation services.
For written communication from LEP individuals in languages other than English, CDPH utilizes contractors to translate and assist in responding to written communications. This process includes identifying the individual’s preferred language, translating, and understanding the message, crafting simple, clear, and concise responses, reviewing for translation accuracy, providing responses, and offering addition free translation and interpretation services.  CDPH employees can request assistance communicating with individuals in languages other than English by contacting the LAPU at CDPHLanguageAccess@cdph.ca.gov​.

Training Employees  

This section includes information on training CDPH employees to provide language access services to the public.

Training Plan

Public Facing Employees
Language access training will be provided to all current public-facing employees no later than December 1, 2024, and at least annually thereafter. New employees with duties that include public contact receive language access training within their first six months of employment.

Trainings are provided to ensure awareness of the availability, accessibility, and appropriate utilization of translation and interpreting Department resources. Training topics include:
  • Overview of CDPH and CalHHS Language Access Policy.
  • CDPH and CalHHS language access resources and designated points of contact.
  • How to identify the language needs of an LEP individual.
  • How to request interpretation and translation services.
  • How to work effectively with interpreters.
Non-Public Facing Employees
This section describes the CDPH’s plan for training employees who are not in public contact positions.
 
Trainings are provided to ensure awareness of the availability, accessibility, and appropriate utilization of translation and interpreting Department resources. Topics should include:
  • Overview of CDPH and CalHHS Language Access Policy including definitions of vital documents and how to identify vital documents.
  • CDPH and Agency language access resources and designated points of contact.
  • How to request interpretation and translation services.

Monitoring and Updating LAP

CDPH monitors the language access services and training and updates the Language Access Plan every two years. Continuous assessment ensures CDPH is compliant with the CalHHS Language Access Policy, and processes and procedures are providing the latest tools and resources available to deliver meaningful language access to members of the public and recipients of services.
 
CDPH monitors programs or processes to ensure implementation of details are included in the Language Access Plan. This process includes:
  • Assessing training effectiveness
  • Identification of training needs
  • Assessing employee awareness of language access policies and procedures
  • Assessing effectiveness of interpretation and translation services
  • Check-in with community partners and stakeholders
  • Tracking costs of providing language access services
  • Data collection
  • Identifying amount and type of language services (interpreter services, sight translations) available to consumers by programs
 
Every two years, CalHHS generates and updates the list of minimum threshold languages for the translation of vital documents and essential web content. Consistent with CalHHS Policy, the CDPH Language Access Plan is reviewed, revised if necessary, and resubmitted to CalHHS every two years. Revisions address any changes in the Title VI four-factor analysis; whether existing policies and procedures are meeting the needs of LEP individuals; whether employees are sufficiently trained; and whether identified resources for assistance are up-to-date, available, accessible, and viable.
 
Reevaluations incorporate, as appropriate, new programs, new legal requirements, additional vital documents, and community input on the Language Access Plan.

Complaint Process

Members of the public or recipients of services may direct complaints regarding language access to:
 
Complaint Process Contact Name: Rebecca Reader
Phone: 279-217-0843
Email: CDPHLanguageAccess@cdph.ca.gov
 
All public offices should post notices in conspicuous locations that advise Limited English Persons of their right to access services in their native language at no cost. The notice should explain the complaint process and list the phone number and address of the Office of Professional Development & Engagement (OPDE), Language Access and Procurement Unit (LAPU).

The Center/Division/Offices must immediately forward complaints from LEP concerning the availability of interpreters and/or translated materials to the LAPU at CDPHLanguageAccess@cdp​h.ca.gov​. The LAPU will investigate and work to resolve all complaints.

Document List

The following is a list of CDPH vital documents. Included are the five languages required by the CalHHS Language Access Policy, and any other languages identified as threshold languages pursuant to analyses under Title VI, Dymally-Alatorre and program-specific language access laws.   
Download​ the vital documents.
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