Few Community Health Centers Receive Reimbursement For Providing Language Services, Report Indicates

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Thu Jun 19 13:51:48 UTC 2008

Few Community Health Centers Receive Reimbursement For Providing
Language Services, Report Indicates
18 Jun 2008

While 84% of community health centers treat patients with limited
English proficiency on a daily basis, only 5% receive direct
reimbursement for language services from Medicare, Medicaid or private
insurers, according to a report released Monday by the National
Association of Community Health Centers, CQ HealthBeat reports. The
report, funded by the National Health Law Program, surveyed 260
community health centers, which estimated a gross aggregate total of
$45 million annually in direct costs for language services. NACHC
Senior Vice President Daniel Hawkins estimated that the total would
reach $200 million if the study had accounted for indirect costs.

"Ninety-nine percent (of patients) not only prefer ... but find it
absolutely necessary, to receive care in their native language,"
Hawkins said, adding, "Access is the main language spoken at health
centers, and yet much more can and should be done." He noted that a
bill (S 3101) by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) would require private
caregivers treating Medicare beneficiaries to adopt a set of language
standards. However, he added, "You can't just mandate it; you've got
to reimburse for it" (Cooley, CQ HealthBeat, 6/16).

The report is available online (.pdf).

Reprinted with kind permission from http://www.kaisernetwork.org. You
can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the
archives, or sign up for email delivery at
http://www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/healthpolicy. The Kaiser
Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free
service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.


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