This is a phrase I hear from so many physicians as I work with them on the importance of having an interpreter for a Limited English Proficient (LEP) patient. It is a tough pill to swallow for a small doctor’s office to understand what is on the other side of that statement. They are correct, with reimbursement rates the way they are they will lose money on a patient by providing an interpreter.
What is on the other side…a Civil Rights Law Suit that could result in a large settlement not covered by their mal-practice insurance. That is right, it’s not covered! When the suit is settled and it is determined that an interpreter should have been provided the settlement comes out of the personal pocket of the doctor. Instead of losing $20 to $30 on the patient visit you are now paying thousands of dollars!
There are physicians in the United States that have had to pay as much as $250,000 to $500,000 in settlements. You read correctly! Those are actual settlement amounts that have been awarded for not providing an interpreter.
Is there an answer? Yes, work with your language provider to establish other modes of interpreting that are not as costly as an on-site interpreter. Having Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) or Over the Phone Interpreting (OPI) established gives the physician flexibility and a cost effective way to communicate on demand with the patient providing the level of care they deserve.
Talk to your provider, if you do not have a provider call us! We have remote services that can be used throughout the United States providing you with a qualified medical interpreter!
Time invested by your staff to set up the service – $50
Price of a minute of VRI interpreting – $2.99
Protected from a civil rights law suit – PRICELESS!!!!