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PATIENT'S RIGHTS  
     
  Office of Civil Rights
Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits exclusion from services and discrimination on grounds of race, color or national origin. This extends to people with non-English or Limited English Proficiency. The federal Americans with Disabilities Act and Article 114 of the Massachusetts Constitution extend those rights to Deaf and Hard of Hearing people.

Massachusetts State Law
Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 111, Section 25J and Chapter 123, Section 23 A, state that acute care hospitals must provide adult competent medical interpreters, face to face or over the phone, at no cost to all non English speaking and limited English proficient patients seeking care or treatment in Emergency Departments or acute psychiatry units.  At MGH we apply this law to all patient care areas.

Patients have the right to:
  • request a medical interpreter anytime, even if they speak limited English- this should not be decided by hospital staff.
  • use or refuse the MGH medical interpreter, face to face or over the phone

Helping patients exercise their right ensures:
  • effective communication
  • understanding of medical information
  • compliance with follow up treatment
  • cooperation
  • satisfaction

REMEMBER, THE USE OF PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL INTERPRETERS PRESERVES PATIENT CONFIDENTIALITY, ACCURACY AND PATIENTS’ RIGHT TO INFORMED CONSENT AND ENSURE CULTURALLY COMPETENT CARE.