Coming Soon To A Hospital Near You, Enhanced Healthcare Language Access for Oregonians!

In a significant step towards ensuring equitable healthcare access for all Oregonians, Governor Kotek has signed SB 1578 into law. This legislation will establish a statewide portal that enables individuals on state-funded healthcare plans to seamlessly access certified health care interpreters.

By streamlining the process of scheduling and payment, the bill ensures that qualified interpreters can be scheduled directly for medical appointments, enhancing communication between healthcare providers and patients with limited English proficiency. The portal will help establish fair compensation and more consistent schedules for state-certified interpreters, thus increasing the number of appointments covered for patients. SB 1578 addresses longstanding challenges within the field and making medical interpreting a more viable and sustainable career path.

SB 1578 exemplifies Oregon's commitment to fostering inclusivity and equity within its healthcare system. By prioritizing access to quality interpretation services, the state is taking concrete steps towards addressing healthcare disparities and building a healthier, more inclusive future for its residents.

Joe Baessler, Oregon AFSCME Executive Director, expressed enthusiasm for the passage of SB 1578, highlighting its impact on Oregon interpreters and the community:

"This bill marks a huge win for both Oregon interpreters and the communities they serve. Health care interpreting is crucial to breaking down language barriers and empowering individuals to actively engage in their healthcare, which creates better healthcare outcomes for all Oregonians. We need to treat interpreters with the respect they deserve for the important work that they do for our communities, and the passage of SB 1578 is a great first step."

Estefany Dieguez, a Spanish Language health care interpreter, shared her perspective on how SB 1578 will positively impact working conditions and pay for interpreters:

"As a healthcare interpreter, I've experienced firsthand the challenges of unpredictable schedules and low pay. As a certified professional, I deserve to be able to take care of myself and my family while also providing an important, life-saving service to my community. Although there is still a lot of work to do to get the pay and benefits that we deserve, SB 1578 gives me hope that I can continue to do this work as a career, because it is more than just a job for me.”