Have you ever gone to a hospital emergency room and been told, in writing, that they do not provide sign language interpreters? Did you decide to leave and go to another hospital? Did you realize that this hospital was violating both federal, and in many cases, state law by not providing you a sign language interpreter, free of charge? If you didn’t know, now you do!
A number of hospitals in our home state of New Jersey have been sued for refusal to provide accommodations/equal access to communication. Litigation has been brought, in many instances, with the help of the Department of Justice’s ADA Enforcement Unit. You can find out how to file a complaint by visiting the ADA/DOJ website. Refusal to provide ASL interpreting services is a Title III violation, and you can find specific instructions for filing a complaint here.
For hospitals and medical facilities that are interested in the proper way to provide accessible services, they should visit this website: ADA Business Brief: Communicating with People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in Hospital Settings.
For every hospital or medical facility that refuses to provide services, there are many more that are willing to provide these services. In our immediate area, Kennedy and Virtua hospitals are great medical facilities that are in full compliance with ADA, Title III. We encourage you to use of their hospitals if you are able.
This also extends to visiting your primary care physician, eye doctor, ENT, or other specialist. By and large, they must comply with ADA Title III and provide you with an interpreter. Not doing so can be VERY expensive for the facility. Case in point, one such case occurred in Hudson County, NJ, where a doctor was forced to pay $400,000 in damages for failure to provide an interpreter. And there are many more stories out there similar to this one. It proves that the old adage of “penny wise and pound foolish” is alive and well.
We provide a wealth of information on our website to assist you in obtaining an interpreter in any medical setting – visit our web page here. Explore our website further for information on obtaining interpreters in the ER, hospital and doctor office.
360 Translations stands read to meet all of your medical interpreting needs. We never sleep, and provide interpreters day or night, 365 days of the year.