Access to hospital interpreter services for limited english proficient patients in New Jersey: A statewide evaluation

Glenn Flores, Sylvia Torres, Linda J. Holmes, Debbie Salas-Lopez, Mara K. Youdelman, Sandra C. Tomany-Korman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations


Context/Objectives. We surveyed New Jersey (NJ) hospitals to assess current language services and identify policy recommendations on meeting limited English proficiency (LEP) patients' needs. Methods. Survey with 37 questions regarding hospital/patient features, interpreter services, and resources/policies needed to provide quality interpreter services. Results. Sixty-seven hospitals responded (55% response rate). Most NJ hospitals have no interpreter services department, 80% provide no staff training on working with interpreters, 31% lack multilingual signs, and 19% offer no written translation services. Only 3% of hospitals have full-time interpreters, a ratio of 1 interpreter:240,748 LEP NJ residents. Most hospitals stated third-party reimbursement for interpreters would be beneficial, by reducing costs, adding interpreters, meeting population growth, and improving communication. Conclusions. Most NJ hospitals have no full-time interpreters, interpreter services department, or staff training on working with interpreters, and deficiencies exist in hospital signage and translation services. Most NJ hospitals stated third-party reimbursement for interpreter services would be beneficial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-415
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2008



  • Communication
  • Health policy
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Interpreters
  • Language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Policy
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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