Healthcare interpreters possess subject matter expertise about their profession and issues affecting healthcare interpreting industry. According to the Association of Language Companies, the largest sector of interpreting services delivered by language companies in the U.S. is health care. We are an important and powerful profession on many levels. It is vital that interpreters recognize that they need to engage with legislators at various levels whenever matters affecting the profession are under consideration. Legislators consult with experts in every other industry on professional issues. Other professionals (doctors, nurses, lawyers, insurance agents, bankers, etc.) are present when laws and regulations that affect their work are being discussed. This is how practitioners advocate for their profession. Interpreters need to offer their expertise with the same authority. If interpreters are not present, others will provide uninformed or their interest-driven opinions, and the profession will suffer the consequences.
Where to start?
- Listen to the recording of the webinar on civic engagement (click here) that CCHI held on May 31, 2017, with CCHI’s Chair Margarita Bekker, Bill Rivers, Executive Director of Joint National Committee for Languages–National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL–NCLIS), and Don Schinske, Executive Director of California Healthcare Interpreting Association (CHIA) and Advocacy Director of Cal Capitol Group. CCHI expresses its deep gratitude to the presenters for offering this recording and their presentation slides to the public free of charge.
- Review the PowerPoint slides of their presentations – click here. The content of the PowerPoint presentations contained in this file is courtesy of its respective authors/their organizations, all rights reserved.
National Advocacy Efforts
- Joint National Committee for Languages—National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL—NCLIS): www.languagepolicy.org
- Advocacy info and toolkits by JNCL-NCLIS: https://languagepolicy.org/advocacy
- “Advocacy 101 for Interpreters and Translators” by NAJIT (National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators): https://najit.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Advocacy-101-for-Interpreters-and-Translators-NAJIT-4.2017.pdf
- NAJIT’s Advocacy Priorities 2017: https://najit.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/NAJIT-Advocacy-Priorities.pdf
- Information on Advocacy by RID (Registry of the Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc.): http://rid.org/advocacy-overview
- RID’s Advocacy Toolkit: http://rid.org/advocacy-overview/advocacy-toolkit
- National portal on regulations, rights, etc. related to individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP): www.lep.gov
- America’s Languages Report: www.amacad.org/content/Research/researchproject.aspx?i=21896
- Implications of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act for Provision of Language Assistance to Patients with LEP (webinar presented by Mara Youdleman, JD): play the webinar recording or view the PowerPoint slides.
Tracking and searching federal legislation: www.congress.gov
Info about State Legislatures
Tracking and searching state legislation: www.llsdc.org/state-legislation
California Legislature Resources:
- CA Legislative info: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov
- The Daily File: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/dailyFileTemplate.xhtml
- Find your legislator: http://www.legislature.ca.gov/legislators_and_districts/legislators/your_legislator.html
- Email list of CA Dept of Health Care Services: http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/Pages/DHCSListServ.aspx
Info about Local Legislatures
Tracking local legislation is similar to tracking state legislation. Locate the website for your local government and then look for “legislation,” “county council,” or something similar. Most local governments post the ordinances they have voted on in the past, as well as an agenda for upcoming votes.