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Am J Public Health. 2004 May;94(5):866-9.

Overcoming language barriers in health care: costs and benefits of interpreter services.

Author information

1
Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Rush University Medical Center, Cook County Hospital, 1900 W. Polk Street, 16th Floor, Chicago, IL 60612, USA. ejacobs@rush.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We assessed the impact of interpreter services on the cost and the utilization of health care services among patients with limited English proficiency.

METHODS:

We measured the change in delivery and cost of care provided to patients enrolled in a health maintenance organization before and after interpreter services were implemented.

RESULTS:

Compared with English-speaking patients, patients who used the interpreter services received significantly more recommended preventive services, made more office visits, and had more prescriptions written and filled. The estimated cost of providing interpreter services was $279 per person per year.

CONCLUSIONS:

Providing interpreter services is a financially viable method for enhancing delivery of health care to patients with limited English proficiency.

PMID:
15117713
PMCID:
PMC1448350
DOI:
10.2105/ajph.94.5.866
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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