New California Law Requires HMOs To Provide Language Assistance Services to Members
The California Department of Managed Health Care, consumer groups and HMOs in California on Thursday said they are working to implement a new law that took effect last week requiring HMOs to provide language assistance services to members, the Sacramento Bee reports. The law (SB 853) requires HMOs to ensure that interpreters are available for members and that any written materials be translated in members' primary languages. HMOs have one year to implement the law. John Puente of the California Association of Health Plans said, "Clearly, it's been a bit of a struggle, but of course all the plans are moving forward to implement these rules and make sure they're complied with." DMHC will work with insurers to develop standardized forms that will inform patients of their rights to the language assistance services. The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network and consumer group Health Access California said they would monitor HMOs' compliance with the law (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 3/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.