When you are receiving medical care, clear and accurate communication is vital to help you make informed decisions. At University of Missouri Health Care, we provide 24/7 language services to ensure all our patients can take part in important health care communication.

Photo of two women using sign language.

The MU Health Care Language Services department helps non-English speaking or limited-English speaking patients, along with patients who are deaf or who have hearing problems, receive free language assistance. As part of this service, you have access to a qualified language interpreter as well as written translation of health documents important to your wellbeing.

MU Health Care policies prevent discrimination of any kind. We provide translation services in 20 languages to help all patients receive the care and attention they need.

If you need help from the MU Health Care Language Services Department, please call 573-884-8133.

When we use interpreters

To ensure you receive quality care, MU Health Care interpreters should always be used during the following care:

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

Why we use interpreters

You have the right to refuse the medical interpreter and to have a family or friend interpret. However, there are risks if you choose to proceed without our help.

That person may:

  • Add or leave out information
  • Learn things about you that you may not want to share
  • Misunderstand what your caregiver says
  • Not know the correct medical word and give you wrong information
  • Tell others about your health condition

Each of these risks can be a problem for you and your medical treatment. We encourage you to use a medical interpreter whenever possible.

If you do not use an interpreter, you will also be asked to sign a Waiver of Interpreter Services, which will be placed in your permanent medical record. Please note that MU Health Care policy does not allow people under the age of 18 to act as interpreters.

Forms

The forms below are used to help us deliver quality care and interpreter services.

  • Communications Assessment. To provide you with the best care, we need to know if you have specific communication needs. Please fill out this form so we can provide the right communication help.
  • Waiver of Interpreter Services. If you refuse a medical interpreter, you must sign this form.
  • 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 we can serve your needs.