//Are you afraid to partner with one language service provider (LSP)?

YES comes through loud and clear in client meetings! The concept of “putting all your eggs in one basket” is concerning to many of our potential and current clients. This makes them think how they want to strategize working with an LSP vendor and/or managing their language service departments.

Over the years we have heard numerous times, “we have to have more than one vendor in order to meet the needs of our Limited English Proficiency (LEP) community.” Before you know it, in order to deliver the high level of patient care for your LEP patients, your Language Service Department looks like this:

– Team of onsite interpreters
– Manager of the department
– Schedulers
– On-site vendor for ASL
– On-site vendor for Spanish
– On-site vendor for other languages
– Over the phone vendor
– Video vendor
– Translation vendor
– LEP/Compliance consultant

Wow! All of this in order to deliver quality patient care, maintain Joint Commission standards and manage the cost? Oh wait I forgot one of the most important, yet time consuming, pieces to this department: compliance!

Let’s look down the timeline to July 2012: Joint Commission is at your front door waiting to spend some quality time with your facility. They ask your staff “How do you get an interpreter for a patient?” The staff member then has to stop and think, Spanish, ASL, over the phone, which process? The staff member becomes flustered and Mr. Joint Commission begins to note that you have not communicated your process because your staff member stumbled or even could not remember who to call, which mode to use or what the process is. Result – new process has to be communicated, staff has to be educated, and additional hours are needed to fix the issue.

If that was not enough, the request comes from the Joint Commission surveyor, “please provide me with the interpreting preparation requirements you have sent to your language service providers to ensure the quality of their interpreters.”

Are you prepared for this? Do you know if your vendor has a process? Have you issued those requirements to all of the vendors? Have these vendors acknowledged said requirements and have implemented these steps into the preparation of their interpreters?

The next step is documentation. You will have to produce this documentation for all of your vendors. Result – manually pulling numerous signed processes from each vendor, possible audit to ensure accuracy and unable to show proof of compliance management.

Now take a minute, step back and let’s relive these two scenarios when you partner with one LSP.

July 2012: Joint Commission surveyor enters your facility; ask your staff member how do you get an interpreter for your LEP patient, the staff member responds confidently “we call Vocalink to work with us to supply an interpreter to meet the needs of our patient. We work together to determine the best mode of interpreting to meet the needs of the patient.”  Result, Mr. Joint Commission moves on satisfied within 20 minutes!

Mr. Joint Commission then asks to view the interpreting requirements you have set with your provider. Confidently, you show them the signed policy you developed hand in hand with Vocalink. You continue to show him how you have the ability to track each requirement via an online compliance program.

Result, Mr. Joint commission spends limited time with you and moves on satisfied.

Now let me ask the question again:

Are you afraid to work with one Language Services Provider (LSP)?