A little known fact about LG Health is that 69 of its employees have been trained to provide safe, competent and cost-free language interpretation services to patients and their family members.
In February, 17 bilingual LG Health employees graduated from the Linguistic Employee Advancement Program (LEAP), adding Nepali and Bosnian to the long list of languages already spoken, including Cantonese, Vietnamese, Russian, Spanish and Swahili.
In addition, LG Health has 10 paid Spanish-language interpreters on staff and uses third party American Sign Language interpreters for deaf or hard of hearing patients and other foreign language interpreters for languages not spoken by staff.
“We started the LEAP program in 2011 to meet the growing needs of our patients,” said Evelin La Paz, LG Health’s Language Services and Inclusion Manager. “Patient safety is the most important thing for us and our existing employees understand the privacy laws, are familiar with medical terminology and know our organizational standards and culture. They are up to speed on how care is provided at LG Health,” she said.
La Paz added that participating LEAP employees feel valued by using their language skills. “Our interpreters provide a vital bridge between the patients and our staff, using language skills they may have taken for granted to help patients and their families communicate effectively with doctors and nurses and better participate in managing their care.”
To graduate from the program, each employee must complete a four-week program and pass an oral and written exam that is based on a national certification process. Employees who go through the program get a certified evaluation of oral fluency through the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages - Oral Proficiency Interview as well as customized training in medical interpretation, standards of practice, industry codes of ethics, cultural competence, and medical terminology.
Readily available throughout the health system, the interpretation services are provided in person, over the phone or remotely via video.
For more information on the program, visit the LEAP website or email Evelin La Paz at Elapaz2@LGHealth.org.