The University of Michigan Health System treats thousands of deaf and Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients each year. For them, a visit to the doctor can be confusing and even dangerous without a trained medical interpreter.
Interpreter Services has been providing medical interpreters since the 1990s, and demand for our services has grown over the years. We have gone from 370 interpreter requests for the entire year of 1990 to over 2,000 requests per month last year.
We currently have 20 staff interpreters, five administrative staff and a pool of over 100 temporary interpreters, that speak more than 40 languages. We're committed to:
- Helping LEP patients feel safe and empowered, despite their language barriers
- Educating patients and families about their right to receive language assistance
- Raising UMHS staff’s awareness of the impact of culture and language on health care delivery
- Making medical documents available in the most common languages spoken by patients
- Providing accurate translations of medical and billing records sent from abroad
- Maintaining demographic, cultural and epidemiological profiles of the LEP community
- Collaborating with local ethnic communities to help them receive the care they deserve
Our interpreters are carefully screened and highly trained. Along with language mastery, many also have medical backgrounds. To help them enhance their skills, we offer educational options ranging from medical terminology courses to Bridging the Gap, the nation's premier medical interpreter training program.
We are dedicated to helping LEP and deaf patients enjoy equal access to outstanding health care. We welcome your suggestions on how we can best achieve this goal.