HCIN continues to serve as a model for health care organizations committed to high quality language access for their patients.
What's New at the Network
HCIN Interpreters Aid the Dying
Palliative care is a growing medical specialty, and for dying patients with limited English proficiency, interpreters play a crucial role in delivering high quality care. This article features HCIN interpreter Veronica Maldonado and supervisor Viviana Marquez of Riverside University Health System, as well as HCIN Program and Quality Assurance Director Beverly Treumann. The training program mentioned is available for download by trainers here, and for self-study by interpreters at our training website, HCIN Learn.
(This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, which publishes California Healthline, a service of the California Health Care Foundation. Article by Eryn Brown, photo by Heidi de Marco)
MORENO VALLEY, Calif. — Alfredo David lay in bed, looking deflated under an Avengers blanket, as a doctor, two nurses, and medical interpreter Veronica Maldonado entered his hospital room. He wrapped up a call from his wife, then fiddled idly with his phone.
He had received distressing news from the team at the Riverside University Health System Medical Center: His sharp abdominal pains and difficulty eating, previously diagnosed at another hospital as gastritis, were actually caused by metastatic cancer. The tumor was growing. David, 45, was not going to recover.
Maldonado pulled up a chair for herself and another for palliative care specialist Dr. Faheem Jukaku, and the two sat at David’s eye level. Pointing to an MRI image of David’s abdomen, Jukaku explained in English how surgeons would attempt to ease his symptoms the next day. Maldonado translated Jukaku’s words into Spanish, modulating her tone of voice to match the doctor’s delivery.
Major Regional Hospital Chooses HCIN
Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN has joined the Health Care Interpreter Network (HCIN) in order to “improve services to patients, boost productivity and save money,” the medical center announced. VUMC is the leading academic hospital system in the mid-south region, and is nationally-ranked in numerous specialties. It boasts top-level centers for trauma, neonatal intensive care, and burn care.
Interpreter Services Manager Hope Collins, MPA commented: “I think what is unique about the solution we have chosen is that it works like a giant co-op of shared hospital interpreter resources. We like that model for several reasons.”
Read the Medical Center’s announcement here.
All Video Interpreter Services are Not the Same:
Best Video and Best Technology Platform
The HCIN system operates on a technology platform by Cisco systems, the best video quality in the industry and a trusted provider of security and encryption known and trusted by your hospital IT.
Best Healthcare Interpreters
The HCIN system offers access to a network of other hospital-based interpreters. The interpreters on the network are full-time staff interpreters at the member hospitals, including some of the most highly regarded interpreter programs in the industry.
Most Languages by Video
HCIN has video interpreters in more than 25 of the most requested during regular business hours, access to ASL and Spanish 24 x 7 and indigenous languages by appointment. No other vendor has the size and scale of languages available by video as the HCIN system.
Working for the Best Interest of Your Hospital
The HCIN system is designed to help your interpreters serve your hospital patients most effectively. Our recommendations are designed to help you get the highest quality and yet lowest cost service to your patients in all languages 24 x 7. The HCIN system supports your interpreters with ongoing training and education courses at no cost to your hospital.
Expanding Access to Indigenous Languages
As part of its ongoing commitment to broaden the language access of our member organizations, Health Care Interpreter Network is proud to partner with Indigenous Interpreting+ (II+) to connect HCIN hospitals and clinics across the U.S. with skilled interpreters of many indigenous languages of Mexico and Central America.
Indigenous Interpreting+ is based in Salinas, California, in the central coast agricultural region of the state. More than 30,000 indigenous immigrants and their families live in this area, many of them from the linguistically rich states of Oaxaca, Guerrero and Chiapas, Mexico.
Mexico is home to dozens of indigenous languages, many of them splintered into variants that are not mutually intelligible. For instance, a Mixteco-speaker from San Martín Peras may not understand a Mixteco-speaker from Unión de Cárdenas. If these people are not also fluent in Spanish, then many organizations are unable to communicate with them effectively. HCIN and II+ are now addressing this problem with great success. HCIN members can pre-schedule a video interpreter in advance, using the network’s Scheduled Appointment Center. Additionally, HCIN’s primary (on-demand) service routes users directly to II+ Interpreter Coordinator Judith Pacheco, who works quickly to ascertain the correct language variant—chiefly by asking the patient’s home town—and contact the best possible interpreter from the program’s growing staff.
II+ was co-founded by Victor Sosa, a veteran interpreter, manager and trainer at Natividad Medical Center, and Angélica Isidro, a native Mixteco-speaker and community leader from nearby Greenfield, who works as both an interpreter and a facilitator helping other interpreters integrate themselves into the healthcare environment and other settings. The work is sponsored by Natividad Medical Foundation, whose President and CEO Linda Ford provided grant funding and access to the Foundation’s supporters in the local agricultural community. HCIN Administrative Director Melinda Paras is enthusiastic about the program, noting:
Many hospitals feel they can’t meet the communication needs of patients who speak languages of lesser diffusion. Health Care Interpreter Network has determined that the only way to make these languages available is by partnering with community-based organizations that have deep roots in the immigrant and refugee communities where these languages are spoken. Indigenous Interpreting+ is one of several such partnerships we have developed, and they are doing a great job for the hospitals and patients in our network. We are excited to have them.
As HCIN has rolled out on-demand access to the II+ interpreters, users have included Natividad Medical Center in Salinas, Ventura County Medical Center, Magnolia Clinic in Oxnard, CA, Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield, and Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia, CA. Languages available include multiple variants of Mixteco and Triqui, as well as Zapoteco, Chatino and Mam.
Photo: Indigenous Interpreting+ interpreter Sergio Martinez (Triqui de San Juan Copala) with program co-founders Angélica Isidro and Victor Sosa. (photo credit: Ces Rosales)
HCIN Builds National Network of Shared Hospital Interpreter Services
The Health Care Interpreter Network (HCIN), founded in California in 2005, has become a unique, national network of over 40 hospitals and provider organizations committed to superior patient communication in today’s multi-lingual world.
HCIN Executive Director Frank Puglisi announced that the original 19 members of HCIN have partnered with healthcare providers throughout the country using similar technology solutions - to create the nation’s only coast-to-coast network of hospital-based video interpretation.
The new members include many providers regarded as centers of excellence for culturally- and linguistically-appropriate care, such as Hennepin County Medical Center in Minnesota, Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts, Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC, and Sinai Health System in Illinois.
“What we are doing,” said Puglisi, “is bringing together health care organizations across the country that are forward-thinking, responsive and responsible, and employ outstanding interpreters. By combining our efforts, pooling this tremendous talent, and finding creative ways to deploy the best available technology, we are able to offer a breakthrough solution for patients, for clinicians, and for hospital administrators.”
The new HCIN national partnership offers the broadest array of languages in video interpretation, with service being provided by qualified and tested healthcare based staff interpreters. Languages on the system include American Sign Language, Spanish available 24 x 7, and Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hmong, Cambodian, Lao, Mien, Korean, Armenian, Russian, Farsi, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Somali, and others available during regular business hours.
All the newly-joined member organizations utilize similar video call routing technology provided by HCIN System Administrator Paras and Associates. By joining HCIN, these hospitals gain access to the network’s Quality Assurance program, which includes training, testing and quality control services.
As a mature network, HCIN is able to accommodate member organizations at different levels of engagement in language services. Some members, such as Parkland Health, Cambridge Health and Contra Costa Health Services have large, well-developed interpreter departments. Some, such as Sinai Health and Georgetown University Hospital, excel in service to the Deaf community as well as interpreting spoken languages. Other sites may have no interpreters of their own, but tap into HCIN to utilize the rich resources of the network (see How it Works).
Please contact us to learn more about joining HCIN. We are happy to provide a demonstration of the network and can develop an ROI to help determine the best-fit membership plan for your organization.