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California may provide interpreters for patients on Medi-Cal (PDF)



Program assistant Mayra Dittman (L) helps Juanita Gilbert get up to walk at the Lifelong Medical Marin Adult Day Health Care Center on February 10, 2011 in Novato, California.
Program assistant Mayra Dittman (L) helps Juanita Gilbert get up to walk at the Lifelong Medical Marin Adult Day Health Care Center on February 10, 2011 in Novato, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

When federal health care reform kicks in next year, more than 1 million, low-income Californians could gain coverage through the state’s Medi-Cal program. A good percentage of them may speak limited English.

That's why Assembly Speaker John Pérez (D-LA) has introduced AB 1263 to create a new program that provides interpretation services to Medi-Cal patients.  

The proposed program, called Communi-Cal, would reimburse patients for the cost. That money would come from the federal government.
  
Pérez thinks providing patients who speak limited English with professional interpreters will help their doctors properly diagnose and treat them. He also wants the State Personnel Board to certify and regulate medical interpreters.
 
The Assembly Health Committee takes up the Speaker's bill on Tuesday.
 
 

AB 1263 would create a new program that provides interpretation services to Medi-Cal patients.