Help Needed on Language Access in Health Care Delivery

The Latino and Latina Roundtable is being asked to help in identifying people that have been affected in the delivery health care due to language barriers and miscommunication (see the message below).  If you can help in this effort, please contact Matthew A. Maldonado, AFSCME 3930, at 1-619-206-4898 or Yvonne Olivares-Maldonado at

To:  Latino and Latina Roundtable:

I am reaching out to you as part of an effort to establish interpreter services in Med-Cal.  AFSCME, my union is working hard to help pass a bill that will change healthcare in CA forever, making interpreter services available in public healthcare settings for non-native English speakers.

Right now we are about six weeks away from the time where the Gov. will sign into law changes related to health care reform.  We want to make sure language access is part of those new laws.

Unfortunately, the Governor and his inner circle still do not believe that interpreters are needed, or that there is a problem with the way things are now.  According to him, there still is no “demonstrable need” in any of the many non-native English speaking communities in California.

We are looking for non-native English speaking community members who can attest to the fact that language interpreters in medical settings are a vital and necessary part of a functional healthcare system. The consequences of poor communication between providers and patients due to a lack of interpretation can be the difference between life and death, not to mention that language discrimination is illegal.   We need help to find those real stories of the real people who have faced health consequences due to language access abuses.  We believe that only the stories of real people and their real health crises have the chance of moving this Governor into action.   Our deadline is fast approaching. We only have through December.

Please feel free to contact me for additional information.  I look forward to talking with you and others further about this program.


Matthew A. Maldonado

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