Why Every Medical Office Should Utilize Interpreters
Firstly, it is unconditionally vital for every medical office to be thoroughly educated on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) laws, which were enacted and passed in 1990. As a medical office, you are considered as a Title III entity, and you are required by the ADA laws to provide Sign Language interpreting services to disabled individuals, which includes Deaf and hard of hearing individuals who use American Sign Language as their primary means of communication.
Here is an excerpt from the ADA’s website:
“Title III prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the activities of places of public accommodations (businesses that are generally open to the public and that fall into one of 12 categories listed in the ADA, such as restaurants, movie theaters, schools, daycare facilities, recreation facilities, and doctors’ offices) and requires newly constructed or altered places of public accommodation—as well as commercial facilities (privately owned, nonresidential facilities such as factories, warehouses, or office buildings)—to comply with the ADA Standards.”
In shorter words, by not providing American Sign Language interpreters to the Deaf and hard of hearing individuals who use sign language, you are essentially practicing discrimination and that leaves your business with an open hole for lawsuits. If you go to the ADA’s website and look at their list of enforcement activities, you will see that the list is extraordinarily long! You do not want to become a statistic of businesses that got sued for not providing interpreters. There are many lawyers who specialize solely in the ADA laws.
It is unfortunately common for medical offices to think they can get away with not providing American Sign Language interpreters and they think they are being savvy, when in fact, it is not only illegal and can get your business sued, it is also unethical that you do not make sure your patients do not experience communication and cultural barrier.
By utilizing American Sign Language interpreters, you are protecting your own business and you are giving your patients whose primary language is not spoken English the best possible experience, which will have positive effects on your business in the long run. It is vital to note that in order to be considered a Sign Language interpreter, you need to have a certification from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf or you need to have gone through rigorous educational training. Just because you know some sign language does not make you a qualified Sign Language interpreter.
There are many different agencies that provide interpreting services, including Frederick Interpreting Agency from Frederick, Maryland. Here are some of the services that they provide:
On-Site Interpreting: the Sign Language interpreter will show up at the premises where the communication interactions will take place. This is by far the most effective method as the interpreter will be present with the medical employee and patient in person and the Sign Language interpreter will be able to read the Deaf or hard of hearing person’s facial expressions clearly.
Video Remote Interpreting: this is a great alternative method to On-Site Interpreting, especially if your medical office gets a walk-in patient and won’t have time to walk for an on-site Sign Language interpreter or if your office is located in a rural area where Sign Language interpreters are sacred. All your office will need is a device with a camera and access to the internet. Video Remote Interpreting allows you to utilize Sign Language interpreters on-demand anytime and anywhere.
Virtual Interpreting: basically a combination of On-Site Interpreting and Video Remote Interpreting. Frederick Interpreting Agency will use your preferred video conferencing platform – Zoom, Google Meets, Doxy, Webex, etc. This is a great method for when every party won’t be in the same room.