Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Only in America

It makes perfect sense to me that a counseling agency would have to make provisions for people who have disabilities such as being blind or deaf. Those are obviously legitimate disabilities that people can't change. According to PA law (and I'm sure all the other states) we also have to provide an interpreter for people who don't speak English. "That's not so bad," you say. But take into consideration that the rate we have to pay an interpreter per hour is more than what Medical Assistance pays us for an hour of counseling, so essentially we're paying to treat these people. Plus, if a client doesn't show up, we still get charged for the hour, but we are legally not allowed to charge Medical Assistance clients a no-show fee.

We could be sued for refusing to treat these people; in fact, we could be sued for telling them that we don't have any Spanish-speaking counselors and referring them somewhere that does. Not speaking English isn't a disability. If you choose to live here and not learn our language, that's your prerogative, but don't expect to receive services that we have to pay for. We're a non-profit and we're in the red. Try going to France and expecting the same treatment.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Christopher said...

Only im America?!

I guess you've never heard of Canada having everything in French because of Quebec?

4/18/2007 2:24 AM  
Blogger Jenny G said...

I'm not talking about having labels and other written things in several languages, I'm talking about a non-profit agency that can't afford it being legally obligated to pay to see a client simply because said client can't speak English even though it can refer the client to a therapist who does speak Spanish.

God forbid we don't bend over backwards for someone; it might hurt his feelings.

4/18/2007 7:21 AM  
Blogger j said...

Canada is a different situation--French and English are both "official" languages and have been such from the origin of the country.

I know there are some who have agitated to have Spanish made an official language in the U.S., but the financial implications of that would be enormous. (A personal aside--last week I ended up sharing a room with a guy from Virginia, and we had just happened to bring with us the exact same shampoo, deodorant and toothpaste--yes, that's weird, I know--but if I was unsure which it was, I simply checked to see if there was any french on it.

So Jen, does that apply to all languages? If someone only spoke that language of the tribespeople in The Gods Must Be Crazy would you have to find an interpreter for them too?

J.

4/18/2007 11:07 AM  
Blogger Jenny G said...

j: Thanks, I was going to come back and say the same thing about both of those languages being official in Canada and you beat me to it. At the risk of sounding like a redneck, I wouldn't be opposed to making English the offical language of the US. That's so weird that you have a toiletry twin! I have a Coke bottle from our trip to Canada that is in English and French. I suppose you would at least have to make an effort to find an interpreter for random languages. Here's the passage:

"Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides that doctors and agencies getting Federal money should make language services available to people who do not speak or understand English well enough to access services. Medical Assistance (MA) doctors must give free access to an interpreter to all people that use their office and need an interpreter in order to access medical care. The Department of Public Welfare, Office of Medical Assistance Programs, expects all MA doctors to comply."

http://www.dpw.state.pa.us/Family/ProgImmigrantsRefugees/Lep/003673518.htm

4/18/2007 11:19 AM  
Blogger Noelle F. said...

I just want to say an AMEN to your post. Period.

4/19/2007 1:00 AM  
Blogger Jenny G said...

Something has to be made official to be correct or even logical?

I cant imagine a Spanish interpreter makes that much so it seems like you're getting screwed by the Meddical Assistance.

4/22/2007 4:58 AM  
Blogger Rusty said...

Chris, I don't recall saying that.

*claps hands* You can read and comprehend! We ARE getting screwed by MA because MA makes us see these people and rufuses to pay us more to cover the cost of providing an interpreter, which is something they force us to do.

4/22/2007 10:29 AM  
Blogger Rusty said...

Oops. That was me, Jenny G, using Rusty's laptop.

4/22/2007 10:30 AM  

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