interperationCommunity members who have experienced life and death medical issues because of a lack of interpretation, along with those who have had effective communication save lives, are taking to the road to ask Methodist Hospital and UC Davis Medical Center to support federal funding for interpreters. The visits seek to garner the support of these institutions for more interpreting resources and a delegation of Vietnamese, Russian, Mien, Hmong, and Arabic speakers will deliver letters to the CEO of each to that effect.

Not having interpreters easily leads to serious negative health outcomes. Sacramento resident Houa Vang, a Hmong-speaker, believes his son would not have lost sight in his left eye had an interpreter been available in July 2012. The tour begins with delivering a letter to Methodist Hospital and will end at UC Davis urging greater dialogue with the community and public support for interpreter funding from the hospital. As the Affordable Care Act is poised to add 3 Million new non-native patients to the Health Care System of California, community members are bringing attention to the critical need to have medical interpretive services available at all hospitals. Currently there are not enough interpreters available and families are forced to bring their own interpreters, often meaning children interpret. In other situations doctors use janitors, cooks and others who are not medically qualified to communicate with patients.

UC Davis Medical Center and Methodist Hospital alike face gaps in coverage that additional resources could address, even for more commonly spoken languages. Last year Spanish-speaker Maria Rangel describes that “When the [UC Davis] doctor came I told her two or three times ‘I need an interpreter so you know what’s going on with me.” The doctor did not listen.”

When: Thursday – August 1, 2013 at Noon Where: UC Davis Medical Center: 2315 Stockton Blvd Sacramento, CA 95817