The NCIHC works for the development and advancement of the medical interpreter as an integral part of the health care experience for limited English speaking patients.
2. Acting as a national clearinghouse involving federal legislative activity relating to interpreting in health care.
NCIHC Policy Education Actions
Federal Guidance on Language Access for Limited English Proficient individuals
Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act states that recipients of federal funds may not run their programs in such a way as to create discrimination on the basis of race, color or country of national origin. The Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services enforces this act, and has for many years held that language is an aspect of country of national origin. In short, any organization that receives federal funding is required to provide language access to its services.
Soon after, the Department of Justice also released guidance and asked for public comment; NCIHC also provided commentary on that guidance document.
Quite a number of federal departments have been unresponsive in producing guidance. Because of the amount of health care provided to students through school health programs, NCIHC decided to sign on to a letter sent by LEP Advocacy to the Department of Education, protesting its sluggishness in providing guidance on language access.
Opposition to EO 13166 and the OCR Guidance
The Council also wrote an editorial to the Washington Post to correct mistaken allegations made in an article about the AMA letter to Secretary Thompson.