LOS ANGELES (AP) - A new law makes California the first state in
the country to require health plans to provide translators for
those with limited English language skills.
The law requires HMOs to provide interpreters and translated
materials at no charge, in an effort to help non-English speaking
patients to understand everything from their medications to
The California Department of Managed Health Care expects the law
to affect about one-third of California's 17 million HMO members.
One translation services provider says the top 10 requested
foreign languages in California are Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin,
Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Farsi, Arabic, Punjabi and Tagalog.
The law was passed in 2003 and went into effect January 1, 2009.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)