Around the nation: California hospital recruits interpreters from its own ED

Bite-sized hospital and health industry news

  • California: Natividad Medical Center had a demand for interpreters who speak four Mexican indigenous languages, so it came up with a novel solution: recruiting interpreters from their patient population. Many of Natividad's ED patients were farm workers who already knew the languages, so the hospital created the Indigenous Interpreters Plus program to hire the farm workers and train them as indigenous interpreters (Porzucki, "The World in Words," PRI, 11/9).

  • Michigan: Federal officials on Monday approved federal and state funding to address the ongoing lead problem in Flint. Under a Michigan State Plan Amendment, the state will be able to use about $24 million per year to remove lead hazards from homes. The funding will either last for five years from the effective date or until all homes within the plan are free of lead. The funding will go toward the removal and replacement of surfaces or fixtures within homes that are lead hazards. HHS' Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Nicole Lurie said, "This approval is an unprecedented step for the state and federal government in helping Flint families protect their children from the risks associated with lead" (Schramm, Michigan Public Radio, 11/15; CMS release, 11/14).

  • New Mexico: A state nursing hotline recognized last year by CDC as a national model may shut down by the end of the year for financial reasons. NurseAdvice provides residents with 24-hour access to nurses by phone at no cost, and a University of New Mexico economist estimated that the hotline saves New Mexico's health care system more than $5 million a year, in part by steering patients away from EDs to more appropriate facilities. But some managed care companies that once funded the hotline have switched to lower-cost nurse lines that are based out of the state or out of the country, drying up a main source of funding. Some stakeholders say that having a New Mexico-based nurse line improves quality (Miller, Santa Fe New Mexican, 11/7; Barr et al., Hospitals & Health Networks, 11/15).

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