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Language Services

A global MU Health Care Language Services department is available 24/7 to ensure that non-English speaking or limited-English speaking patients, along with deaf or hard-of-hearing patients, receive free language assistance. This assistance includes provision of competent and qualified interpreter services and/or written translation of information/documents that are important to the well-being of the patient.

If you need assistance from the MUHC Language Services Department, please call 573-884-8133.

When we use interpreters

Qualified MUHC interpreters should always be used with limited English proficient/deaf patients for the following:

  • Medical history or description of problem/injury
  • Patient rights, informed consent, provision for treatment 
  • Explanation of diagnosis or prognosis
  • Explanation of procedures, tests, treatments, options, medications
  • Follow-up treatment and discharge instructions
  • Psychiatric evaluation and treatment
  • Blood transfusion
  • Sight translation of vital written documents if we do not have them prepared in the patient's language
  • Patient education
  • End of life issues; limitations of care
  • Billing and insurance issues
  • Anytime the patient specifically asks for an interpreter
  • Anytime medical personnel or other personnel with direct patient  contact feels that important information needs to be communicated to the patient.

Why we use interpreters

You have the right to refuse the medical interpreter and to have a family or friend interpret, but there are risks if you choose to proceed without the help. That person may:
  • Not know the correct medical word and give you wrong information
  • Add or leave out information
  • Learn things about you that you may not want to share
  • Tell others about your health condition
  • Misunderstand what your caregiver says
Each of these risks can be a problem for you. They can hurt your medical treatment. So we want to make sure you understand the possible risks.

You will also be asked to sign a waiver of interpreter services which will be placed in your permanent medical record.

MU Health Care policy prohibits the use of minors as interpreters.

Forms

  • Communications Assessment - In order to provide the best care for all of our patients, it is important for us to know if you have specific communication needs. Please use this form to help us provide appropriate communication assistance.
  • Language Identification List - You have the right to a medical interpreter at no cost to you. Please use this list to identify your language so that we may best serve your needs.

Language Services video in American Sign Language

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