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It's a start of a new year, which is a great time to take a deep dive into your hospital or health system’s language access plan.

CyraCom recently developed a language access 101 course, which includes carefully researched white papers, case studies, and articles. These resources can help boost your knowledge, encourage stakeholder buy-in, and create a custom plan for your facility.

We also cross-referenced and accumulated Joint Commission and DNV standards, Section 1557 requirements, and other best practices to create a comprehensive checklist for your language access plan. This checklist will help you build out your language access plan or review your current plan for any areas that could be improved.

The Language Access Plan Checklist comprises seven steps:

1. Determine what you need to provide

The first step of the Language Access Plan Checklist helps you gather data from several sources. Knowing the most commonly spoken languages and your area’s population breakdown helps you plan ahead and receive more accurate pricing from language service providers.

2. Establish your language access resources

After determining your top languages, consider the services you’ll need to offer your limited-English proficient (LEP) patients. Your language access plan should cover the services you’ll need (phone, video, and on-site interpretation, as well as translation) and who will provide each service (bilingual staff vs. vendors).

3. Create guidance for how and when staff should use language services

This section will help you develop a plan to help your staff connect with an interpreter. Establish when staff should contact internal resources or your language services provider for assistance.

4. Gain stakeholder support

Once you complete your assessment, you’ll need buy-in from stakeholders. This section helps you list stakeholders you’ll need to meet with.

5. Provide staff support

In addition to providing training for all employees, this list will help you decide what to teach your staff to encourage compliance and brainstorm how to make language services accessible.

6. Distribute language access material and equipment

In this section, you can check off materials you need to distribute to staff and display for patients. It also helps you get into programming your equipment for reporting purposes and choosing access points.

7. Review and update your language access plan

Finally, this checklist provides strategies to help you review and update your plan, which you should do at least every two years.

Want your own copy of the checklist?

Sign up for the free Language Access 101 eLearning course here.




Regina Wetzel

Regina Wetzel

An experienced researcher, writer, and editor on language services-related topics, specializing in how language works and translation services.