CLAS Standard 5
Standard 5's intent is to prevent disparities in the access and utilization of services due to Limited English Proficiency (LEP).
Preferred Language: This is the language the patient/consumer indicates they are most comfortable within a clinical or non clinical encounter.
Verbal Offers: When a patient/consumer identifies their "preferred language", they are verbally informed in a language they can understand and they have a right to FREE language services and these services are readily available.
Written Notices: All points of contact have written notices stating the right to and availability of FREE language services.
The following in an example of an emergency room encounter where meaningful access did not occur:
A Hispanic woman with limited English proficiency was brought to a hospital emergency room by her brother. The hospital had not posted notices of the patient's/consumer's right to free language translation services and the staff had not verbally offered language assistance services. Instead, her brother who was untrained in medical terminology was asked to interpret. She was embarrassed to discuss her condition or any sensitive information relating to her medical condition. She left without treatment.
An example of meaningful access and meeting CLAS Standard 5 was demonstrated in the operations of a university medical center's reception desk. In this case, staff directed an incoming patient with limited English proficiency to a sign on the wall with tear off cards in many different languages stating "I prefer to speak and would like to use the free interpreter services provided by the hospital". The patient then selects the appropriate card for their preferred language and hands it to the staff person, who then contacts the interpreter services.