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Translating Rights into Access: Language Access and the Affordable Care Act

Publication: American Journal of Law Medicine and Ethics

Professors Joel Teitelbaum, JD, LLM, Lara Cartwright-Smith, JD, MPH, and Sara Rosenbaum, JD have published an article titled “Translating Rights into Access: Language Access and the Affordable Care Act” in the most recent edition of the American Journal of Law and Medicine, which is dedicated to the issue of constitutional, statutory, and contractual health care rights in the U.S.  In their article, the authors present evidence regarding the role of communication in health care quality as well as evidence of the scope of the language access problem; provide an overview of the rise of the concept of informed consent as a basic dimension of the law of health care quality; trace the evolution of relevant language services in health law and policy; review the various ways in which the ACA presents opportunities to advance effective communication in health care; and conclude with a discussion of the legal, policy, and delivery challenges that remain, including the need for vigilant oversight of relevant ACA provisions and strong enforcement of extant laws to ensure LEP individuals’ meaningful access to care.

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