Congratulations to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS is pleased to announce that it has published its 2013 Language Access Plan (HHS LAP) ensuring access to the Department’s programs and activities to people with limited English proficiency (LEP).
America’s population reflects diverse communications needs. Nearly 20 percent of the population (55 million people) speaks a language other than English at home, 63 percent of hospitals treat LEP patients daily or weekly and more than 15 languages are frequently encountered by at least 20 percent of hospitals.
In accordance with Executive Order 13166 (PDF, 256kb), Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency, the HHS LAP establishes the Department’s policy and strategy for serving persons with LEP and its commitment to the language access principals which state that people with LEP should have meaningful access to federally funded programs, activities, services and benefits. The plan further serves as a blueprint for HHS Divisions to develop their own agency-specific language access plans.
The HHS LAP is organized into ten cross-cutting elements with specific actions steps for HHS agencies to include in their respective agency-specific plans. The ten elements include:
ELEMENT 1: Assessment: Needs and Capacity
ELEMENT 2: Oral Language Assistance Services
ELEMENT 3: Written Translations
ELEMENT 4: Policies and Procedures
ELEMENT 5: Notification of the Availability of Language Assistance at no Cost
ELEMENT 6: Staff Training
ELEMENT 7: Assessment: Access and Quality
ELEMENT 8: Stakeholder Consultation (New Element)
ELEMENT 9: Digital Information (New Element)
ELEMENT 10: Grant Assurance and Compliance (New Element)