Jefferson Health – N.J. awarded $375K grant to expand language access services

Jefferson Health – New Jersey has been awarded a $375,000 grant by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health to increase language access services to patients throughout Camden, Gloucester and Burlington counties.

The hospital is one of 11 nationally to receive the three-year grant.

According to HHS, 26 million people across the U.S. have limited English proficiency. Recent U.S. Census data shows nearly 31,500 LEP individuals across Camden, Gloucester and Burlington counties speak English “less than well” or “not at all.”

Jefferson Health’s hospital is examining readmission data for acute care, and there is a need to improve language access, advocacy and education for these community members.

The three-year initiative will enable Jefferson to effectively promote equitable access to language services by:

  • Increasing awareness of language interpreter services for health care professionals, along with patients and families they serve;
  • Partnering with community-based organizations that serve the LEP community, by providing in-person and webinar-based education about patient rights, language access and how to improve health outcomes;
  • Using technology through a partnership with a digital health company, to educate and train health care professionals and community members.

Dr. Cindy Hou, Jefferson Health’s infection control officer and medical director of research, feels the multitiered program will ultimately be a win-win for all involved.

“Those with limited English proficiency too often face discrimination when seeking health care,” she said. “This language barrier can result in patient-provider misinformation or result in people foregoing care altogether.

“This grant will enable our health care organization to truly improve the lives of those we serve by eliminating barriers to equitable care.”