Letters and Correspondences
Comment on proposed changes to Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities
First Focus on Children submitted the following comment to Melanie Fontes Rainer, the Acting Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services to strongly support the proposed rule which strengthens civil rights protections for federal health programs, especially for individuals who are limited English proficient (LEP), LGBTQ, people with disabilities and chronic conditions, and people, including adolescents, who need reproductive health services.
Excerpt from the Comment:
When parents and/or relatives have limited English proficiency, children oftentimes are asked to interpret medical information for which they do not have the vocabulary or content knowledge.1 Therefore, we strongly support the provisions of this rule related to meaningful access for LEP individuals, specifically the clarification in the 2022 Proposed Rule related to the restricted use of certain persons to interpret or facilitate communication. The prior regulations recognized that an LEP individual cannot be required to provide their own interpreter, and that a minor can only be used to interpret in an emergency and that an adult accompanying an adult should not act as an interpreter without the person’s consent or in an emergency. The 2022 Proposed Rule adds an expectation that in an emergency situation, the reliance of an accompanying adult or minor should be “a temporary measure”. We support this addition.