Diane Mathis

About this topic

Welcome to the Diane Mathis Case Study. This lesson will present the legal background and requirements regarding the need for medical interpretation and how an individual or organization can respond to this responsibility.

The number of non-English speaking immigrants coming into the United States has increased steadily over the last several years.  For example Hispanic persons are the largest growing group in the United States.  There are refugees from war torn countries such as Sudan, Somalia and Somali womenBosnia who also come to the United States to live. When a new cultural group moves into a community, they have needs such as access to schools and healthcare.  Providers in the community are faced with the challenge of making these basic needs available. 

Federal laws have been established to ensure that all persons have equal access to health care. This includes persons who are English Language Learners (ELL) and those who have Limited English Proficiency (LEP) There are health-related and legal ramifications if health care providers fail to meet the needs of all patients. The task of ensuring that all educational materials, consent forms and explanations of diseases and ailments are available in all languages can seem overwhelming.  For cultural groups who are well established in a community, many facilities have translated information and documents; however, for those cultural groups who are new to a community or exist in a limited number, the process is not always as smooth as one would hope. 

Medical interpretation is available to help communicate with persons who do not speak English.  In this case, you will learn about the federal requirements as well as options for institutions to provide qualified medical interpreters

What you will learn

After you complete this lesson you will be able to do the following:

  • Identify an organization's legal responsibilities to provide qualified language interpretation to patients and families.
  • Describe the range of medical language interpretation and what is considered “best practice.”

Getting the most from this lesson

To learn the most from this lesson we recommend that you approach it in the following way:

  • Go through the lesson by using the side bar links. Proceed through the side bar items from top to bottom. Take the quiz last.
  • It would be a good idea to refer back to the “Core Concepts in Cultural Competence” introductory lesson on cultural competency when needed as you proceed through this lesson. This can be accessed by returning to the home page and selecting the Core Concepts in Cultural Competence lesson.


Quiz Learning Activities Resources Key Concepts Lecture Case/Story Introduction