Need, availability, and quality of interpreter services among publicly insured Latino, Hmong, and Somali individuals in Minnesota

Nathan D. Shippee, Jessie Kemmick Pintor, Donna D. McAlpine, Timothy J. Beebe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Limited English proficiency (LEP) is a common barrier that negatively affects access to health care and quality of care. Prior studies have examined interpreter services as a means of ameliorating LEP, but have focused on Spanish-language services, largely overlooking comparisons with other, less-established ethnic groups. Furthermore, few if any studies have assessed the quality of interpreter services provided. Data come from 2,489 Hispanic/Latino, Hmong, and Somali enrollees of public health insurance programs in Minnesota. We employ weighted, regression-adjusted comparisons of enrollee-reported need and availability of interpreters, access to professional and consistent interpreters, and problems with quality of interpreter-assisted communication. Compared with Latinos, Hmong and Somali enrollees reported greater needs and more communication problems, Somali enrollees reported lower availability, and Hmong enrollees reported lower access to professional interpreters. Further training of interpreters for relatively less-established ethnic groups is needed to increase availability of professional, high-quality communication among publicly insured ethnic minorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1073-1081
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012

Keywords

  • Access to care
  • Language
  • Medicaid
  • Race and ethnicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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