Quality Infographic

Effective communication is critical to ensuring understanding, empowering patients and providing high-quality care.

A language access plan can help ensure that an organization provides high quality and appropriate language services. A language access plan can also help ensure that an organization’s staff members are aware of what to do when an individual with limited English proficiency needs assistance.

This Guide, developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), identifies ways that providers can assess their programs and develop language access plans to ensure persons with limited English proficiency have meaningful access to their programs.

Without appropriate interpretation and translation services, it can be difficult to communicate effectively with individuals with limited English proficiency, which can result in: liability related to poor health outcomes; lower patient satisfaction; and violation of Federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of national origin. There is lower patient satisfaction among individuals with limited English proficiency who need interpreters, but do not receive them, and among individuals who received language services either from ad hoc interpreters or from non-medical or untrained support staff. Providing high-quality language access services at each point of contact along the health care continuum is a critical component of high-quality care.