Section 1557

The Who, What, When and Why

Get Compliant!

Have you ever asked or allowed a patient’s family member to interpret for you?

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nurse and doctor treating a wheelchair bound patient

The Affordable Care Act is going to great lengths to ensure non-English speaking consumers seeking healthcare or healthcare coverage are not discriminated against.

Did you know that as of July 18, 2016 healthcare providers must comply with Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act? It prohibits discrimination in healthcare or healthcare coverage based on race, color, national origin, immigration status and English proficiency.

What many healthcare providers don’t realize is that it prohibits the use of non-qualified and non-certified interpreters, such as staff, friends and family members, except in emergency situations.

In other words, if you’re relying on patient’s family members or bilingual staff to interpret in your healthcare setting, you’re not complying with Section 1557 and steep fines for non-compliance could be in your future.

Some of the key points of Section 1557 include:

  • Minor children cannot be used as medical interpreters
  • Adult family members and friends cannot be medical interpreters
  • Bilingual or multilingual staff are severely restricted from being medical interpreters without formal training
  • It’s illegal to require someone with limited English proficiency to provide their own interpreter during medical encounters

Under Section 1557, a qualified interpreter:

  • Is either providing services remotely (via phone or video) or on-site
  • Follows interpreter ethics principles, such as client confidentiality
  • Is proficient in speaking and understanding both spoken English and at least one other spoken language
  • Is able to interpret effectively, accurately and impartially to and from English and the second language, using necessary words and phrases

Akorbi’s certified interpreters and Unified Multilingual Communications Platform will help you stay compliant.

Akorbi’s certified interpreters:

  • Are formally trained and have a minimum of three years of experience interpreting
  • Have been screened extensively through written and oral tests
  • Attend formal training to understand Code of Ethics and skills required to work effectively as a video and telephonic interpreter
  • Receive extensive training to thoroughly understand the language requirements of healthcare environments
  • Perform OIG/SAM/State checks on a monthly basis
  • Receive yearly compliance training to improve their knowledge of the medical industry and hone their interpretation skills. It includes training on FWA, HIPAA, Americans with Disability CT, cultural competency, network and information security (SOP) and Code of Ethics training.

Akorbi’s Unified Multilingual Communications Platform:

  • Gives you access to interpretation and translation services, from any service provider, in every mode of communication (translation, voice, video and in-person) through a single, secure platform
  • Offers secure and data-enabled video and telephonic interpretation services, which are delivered via ALL mobile devices on the market and the Internet
  • Has workflows which deliver professional human and machine translations with HIPAA-compliant document management and delivery

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