Public Health and Language Access: Health Care Providers to See More LEP Patients (Flu Season, Coronavirus)

Public Health and Language Access: Health Care Providers to See More Limited-English Patients Due to Flu Season and Coronavirus | Telelanguage

Public Health and Language Access | TelelanguageHealth Care Providers may see an increased number of limited-English proficient patients due to current public health concerns, including the severity of flu season, and concerns regarding coronavirus. If a patient is limited in their use of English, professional interpretation and translation services are available to provide health care professionals and their patients with the language access they need.

While urgent care centers and emergency rooms are among the most commonly used places for treating injuries and illnesses, it may be difficult for a patient to assess where they should go. MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care provides an in-depth understanding to help educate patients of the differences between Urgent Care and the Emergency Room.

Regardless of the size or location of your practice, Telelanguage believes that every health care professional should be able to quickly (and affordably) connect to professional language support to improve patient communication.

In this post, we’ll go over public health concerns that may be causing health care providers to see more Limited-English proficient (LEP) patients, why preparing for public health emergencies should include language access, and how health care providers can get the language support they need to communicate effectively with LEP and Deaf and Hard of Hearing patients.

2019-2020 U.S. Flu Season

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides estimated ranges to better reflect the larger burden of influenza. The CDC estimates that, from October 1, 2019, through February 1, 2020, there have been:

  • 22,000,000 – 31,000,000 flu illnesses
  • 10,000,000 – 15,000,000 flu medical visits 
  • 210,000 – 370,000 flu hospitalizations
  • 12,000 – 30,000 flu deaths 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Image Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019-2020 U.S. Flu Season: Preliminary Burden Estimates)


The flu has impacted children and young people especially hard this season. The CDC reports more than half of influenza cases in the 2019–2020 flu season to have been seen in kids and people under the age of 25 years old.


Public Health: Patient Concerns About Coronavirus

Since emerging in Wuhan, China, the number of coronavirus deaths (910 as of February 10th, 2020) has surpassed the number of deaths from the 2003 SARS epidemic, and has infected more than 40,000 people in China (as of February 10th, 2020). The World Health Organization (WHO) said the fast-spreading coronavirus is a global health emergency.

Based on current information, the CDC still considers the immediate health risk from this coronavirus to the general American public to be low at this time.

While the CDC considers the American public health risk low, health care providers may see an increase in patients with concerns about the coronavirus, including patients from other countries and patients who have traveled outside the United States.


Public Health: Emergency Preparedness and Language Access

Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) offers recommendations for policy actions that the federal government, states, and the healthcare sector should take to improve our countries ability to protect public health during emergencies, highlighting seven priorities:

  • Provide stable and sufficient funding for domestic and global public health security.
  • Prevent outbreaks and pandemics.
  • Build resilient communities and promote health equity in preparedness.
  • Support the public health workforce and ensure effective leadership and coordination.
  • Accelerate development and distribution, including last mile distribution, of medical countermeasures.
  • Ready the healthcare system to respond and recover.
  • Prepare for environmental threats and extreme weather.


Emergency preparedness and response is critical for public health and safety. Public health scares can be difficult and stressful for everyone, but it can cause even more strain for Limited English Proficient (LEP) and Deaf and Hard of Hearing populations:

  • 25.1 million people in the United States (over the age of 5) are considered Limited English Proficient, meaning they have reported speaking English less than “very well” as classified by the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Approximately 35 million Americans are hearing impaired.


Poor planning to provide language access can lead to miscommunications that have clinical consequences, health disparities for LEP and Deaf and Hard of Hearing patients, poor health outcomes, and fines and/or lawsuits. A breakdown in language access, especially during a public health emergency, threatens public safety for the entire community.

TFAH’s annual report measures states’ level of preparedness to protect public health during an emergency. The 2020 report places U.S. states in levels of preparedness according to priority areas. The levels include high preparedness, medium preparedness, and low preparedness. The table below assists health care providers in finding out where their state is in terms of preparedness this year.

(Trust for America's Health) Ready or Not 2020: Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism

Image Source: Trust for America’s Health Ready or Not 2020: Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism

Government agencies and health care providers, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, must provide qualified interpreters to ensure effective communication.

Telelanguage’s proprietary technology, flexibility, and security provide us a 99.999% uptime, so our customers experience complete peace of mind, knowing that even in the event of a national emergency, or public health crisis, there will be no interruption in high-quality service. Many of our competitors resell our rare languages, as they’re unable to provide our range of languages on-demand. In addition, our technology uptime is the best in the industry. For example, during Hurricane Matthew in 2016, we had competitors whose systems failed. We were able to reroute their calls through our servers and data center, seamlessly, to avoid disruptions in service.


 Language Access Solutions: How Telelanguage Can Help

Qualified medical interpreters are available 24/7, 365 days a year to overcome language and cultural barriers to ensure patient communication – at every step of a patient’s journey. 70% of Telelanguage clients are health care entities, and we have extensive experience in multiple areas that require the use of medical interpreters and government interpreters.

Our U.S. based interpreters are:

  • Medically Certified
  • 9-1-1 Trained
  • Nationally Certified
  • Court Qualified


Health Care Organizations We Help

  • Piloting New Video Remote Interpretation Services | TelelanguageHospitals
  • Pharmacies
  • Telehealth
  • Urgent Cares
  • Emergency Departments
  • Health Insurance
  • Medicare Health Plans
  • Nursing Homes
  • Private Practices
  • Clinics
  • Community Health Centers
  • Home Health Care
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Government Organizations
  • 9-1-1 Emergency Services


Health Care Language Services to Fit Your Needs

When language barriers arise in health care settings, you need a language services provider that can respond quickly to the unique needs of your organization. Telelanguage Healthcare Interpretation and Translation Services provide the solutions you need to improve language access at every step of the patient journey. Certified Medical interpreters are available 24/7/365 days a year.


  • Telephonic Interpretation
  • Video Remote Interpretation
  • On-Site Interpretation
  • Document Translation of vital forms, and notifications


Telelanguage helps health care providers increase overall patient satisfaction and experience, comply with government regulations and standards, and increase the quality of care for limited-English proficient patients… all while reducing interpretation costs to our clients, and connecting medical professionals with qualified medical interpreters faster than any other vendor.

Healthcare Interpretation Services. Download Free PDF.

Healthcare Interpretation Services. Download Free PDF.


How Telelanguage Can Help


Telephonic Interpretation


Over-the-Phone Interpretation is an on-demand, remote interpreting service that offers a fast response when urgent or unexpected language barriers come up.

Available at a low per-minute rate, Telephonic Interpreting allows health care providers to connect to an interpreter in seconds, in over 300 languages. Telelanguage offers the fastest connect times in the industry with an average connect time of 7 seconds, and is available 24/7, 365 days a year. Telelanguage provides Free Trial Minutes so you can test our services – with no contracts or obligation to sign. Get started here!


Video Remote Interpreting

Video Remote Interpreting is an on-demand interpretation solution that bridges the gap between over-the-phone interpreting and on-site interpreting. It can also be extremely cost-effective for health care providers because no minimum hours or mileage reimbursement are needed to gain access to the interpreter (as might occur with an in-person appointment).


Benefits of Video Remote Interpreting. Download the Free Whitepaper!


For health care providers utilizing telehealth technology or video-conferencing, VRI allows you to easily connect to a live, medically-trained video interpreter in seconds, adding visual support of your interpreter to help the conversation for you and your patients.

Simple, seamless, and secure, Telelanguage’s robust Video Remote Interpretation platform connects your LEP patients to certified medical interpreters through one simple application in seconds, accessible from any PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. 

On-site Interpretation

On-site interpretation can be the right solution to support lengthy or complex appointments, or interviews planned in advance, or when many appointments are scheduled close together.

If a situation arises where you need an on-site interpreter quickly, Telelanguage can have a certified medical interpreter at a location in as little as 30 minutes.


Translation Services

Prescription labels and patient instructions must be provided in the language preferred by the patient. Telelanguage has the capacity to translate documents from English to over 100 target languages and vice versa.

Commonly Translated Documents Include:

  • Notices of free language assistance
  • Notice of Eligibility
  • Discharge Instructions
  • Intake Forms
  • Complaint Forms
  • Informed Consent Documents
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Case Report Forms
  • Protocols
  • Marketing Collateral
  • Contracts
  • Prescription Labels


Confidentiality and Compliance in Health Care Settings

Confidentiality and security of patient information are critical to language access in any health care setting. Telelanguage provides 100% HIPAA compliant services, providing meaningful language access in in health care settings and compliance to meet the requirements of:

  • Affordable Care Act, Section 1557 (ACA)
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI)
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • Fraud, Waste and Abuse (FWA)
  • Protected Health Information (PHI)
  • The Joint Commission


Why Health Care Providers are Switching to Telelanguage

  • Medically Trained and Certified Interpreters
  • HIPAA Compliant Services
  • Lower Cost
  • Free Service Trial Programs
  • Best-in-Industry Call Volume Discount Plans
  • Proprietary Technology
  • Quick Interpreter Connect to 300+ Languages


Language Access in Healthcare: Health Care Interpretation Services eBook | Telelanguage

Download Your Free Copy!

Free Guide to Language Access Solutions in Healthcare

Since 1991, Telelanguage has helped thousands of health care organizations to improve language access programs through high-quality medical interpretation services.

This quick eBook resource will help your organization:

  • Determine what interpreting solutions are right for your patients.
  • Understand how quality language access programs positively impact patient care.
  • Maximize your investment in healthcare language services.


Download Your Free Copy!

Telelanguage provides a better way of communicating with limited-English proficient and Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing patients. Join the health care providers we help every day who trust Telelanguage as their dedicated language services partner!

Have questions about interpretation or translation solutions for your health care facility? Contact us for a free quote, or schedule a free demo to learn how Telelanguage can improve the quality of communication for you and your patients.


Try Telelanguage Language Services Free with Free Trial Minutes

Try Our Services at No Charge. Find out if you qualify!


Certified medical interpreters ready to speak in over 300 languages!

Call Telelanguage today at 888-983-5352

Professional interpreter services available telephonically, face to face, or via video remote!