Translating Health Care

9 years 10 months 1 week ago November 19, 2006 Nov 19, 2006 Sunday, November 19 2006 Sunday, November 19, 2006 9:56:00 PM CST in News

Immigrants, predominately Spanish speakers are coming to Missouri at a much higher rate compared to averages across the rest of the country.

In fact, Missouri's Hispanic population grew almost twice as fast as the rest of the U.S. between 1990 and 2000.

That translates to more and more non-English speaking patients needing health and medical care.

Grace Vega with MU health care language services explains her role of interpreter in health. "There was a big accident. There were people in that accident from all over Central America, Not just Mexico but from all over and we were the link to those family members," Vega said. "I was amazed, I was talking to people from Guatemala and Honduras and Mexico.

It's about the worst case scenario for a medical interpreter, a crash on I-70 with 20 passengers in a van none who spoke English.

"We didn't have names for people. We didn't have a clue," Vega said. "We were trying to figure out how to identify these patients and not break HIPPA policy. People were very thankful. Even when we had to tell five of their contacts that the people had died in the accident."

Thankfully, most medical interpreting jobs aren't as tragic. But there's a daily need at local hospitals.

Grace Vega's office is well on it's way to 3000 cases needing interpretative services this year alone.

And even with those numbers, many immigrants still aren't seeking health care services unless it's an emergency.

MU social work professor Margie Sable explains "They don't go to health services because they don't speak English well and they're afraid if they don't speak Spanish, they won't be able to communicate. "

Maria Cepeda works with the MO office of minority health she says "There are many Hispanics that don't know how to speak English. So they have problems on enrolling their kids in Medicaid when they're eligible, or women getting prenatal care."

Those who argue anyone living in this country should have to speak English would take comfort in knowing the interpreters KOMU spoke to said most immigrants are trying.

And making medical interpretation and translation available seems to be making the language barrier less daunting and a health condition less frightening for some immigrants.

"She was able to calm the mother down and tell her about things," said Alice Kuehn MU nursing professor. "The main thing is once the mother understood the nurse spoke Spanish, then they relaxed."

"One time I had to say to a lady that she had breast cancer. But because of the way things were arranged," Cepeda explained "She was able to find early treatment and she's a survivor."

"I could go home every day and say 'There were some awful things I had to say or let people know," Vega explained "but at least they knew and they could work from there."

Face to face interpreting services cost about $30 an hour.

The language services office for University Hospital and clinics was only established about a year and a half ago, it has a budget of about $160,000 dollars paid for out of the hospital's general revenue.

While 95% of the interpretation services needed through Grace Vega's office are for Spanish.

There are hundreds of additional languages able to be understood through a phone program University Hospital subscribes to.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - A recent PEW Research study found the United States ranks last out of 41 countries in terms of... More >>
1 hour ago September 27, 2016 Sep 27, 2016 Tuesday, September 27 2016 Tuesday, September 27, 2016 7:01:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA- Plans to make Columbia a top destination for healthcare are in the works. The Mayor's task force on... More >>
2 hours ago September 27, 2016 Sep 27, 2016 Tuesday, September 27 2016 Tuesday, September 27, 2016 6:47:00 PM CDT in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - Missouri Women's Business Center has more than doubled students in an entrepreneurship course since opening about four months... More >>
4 hours ago September 27, 2016 Sep 27, 2016 Tuesday, September 27 2016 Tuesday, September 27, 2016 4:20:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Animal Shelter said the Trap-Neuter-Release program has decreased the number of feral cats in... More >>
5 hours ago September 27, 2016 Sep 27, 2016 Tuesday, September 27 2016 Tuesday, September 27, 2016 3:12:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – Elementary school students in Columbia gathered in their music classes Tuesday to learn about blues music ahead of... More >>
6 hours ago September 27, 2016 Sep 27, 2016 Tuesday, September 27 2016 Tuesday, September 27, 2016 2:02:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Missouri judge has thrown out a state ethics case against a man who describes himself... More >>
7 hours ago September 27, 2016 Sep 27, 2016 Tuesday, September 27 2016 Tuesday, September 27, 2016 1:41:24 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA -- Columbia Safeety's acquisition of a 100,000-square foot facility in North Columbia could bring as many as 50 jobs... More >>
8 hours ago September 27, 2016 Sep 27, 2016 Tuesday, September 27 2016 Tuesday, September 27, 2016 12:51:00 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A group that presses single women, minorities and millennials to register to vote is apologizing for... More >>
8 hours ago September 27, 2016 Sep 27, 2016 Tuesday, September 27 2016 Tuesday, September 27, 2016 12:07:20 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A Johnson County horticulturist says the number of people dealing with bites from the oak leaf... More >>
8 hours ago September 27, 2016 Sep 27, 2016 Tuesday, September 27 2016 Tuesday, September 27, 2016 12:00:45 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA -- The University of Missouri System kicked off a week-long commemoration Tuesday of its now-30-year-old partnership with the University... More >>
9 hours ago September 27, 2016 Sep 27, 2016 Tuesday, September 27 2016 Tuesday, September 27, 2016 11:44:00 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Several members of the St. Louis-area clergy are questioning why it took four years for murder... More >>
10 hours ago September 27, 2016 Sep 27, 2016 Tuesday, September 27 2016 Tuesday, September 27, 2016 10:28:01 AM CDT in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Suspended Missouri State quarterback Breck Ruddick has been cited with animal cruelty and allowing a dog to... More >>
11 hours ago September 27, 2016 Sep 27, 2016 Tuesday, September 27 2016 Tuesday, September 27, 2016 9:18:36 AM CDT in News
ROCK HILL (AP) — A suburban St. Louis firefighter found unresponsive while on duty has died. Authorities say 46-year-old... More >>
12 hours ago September 27, 2016 Sep 27, 2016 Tuesday, September 27 2016 Tuesday, September 27, 2016 8:23:02 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis man and his girlfriend are both hospitalized after being attacked by a group... More >>
12 hours ago September 27, 2016 Sep 27, 2016 Tuesday, September 27 2016 Tuesday, September 27, 2016 8:18:44 AM CDT in News
ST. CHARLES (AP) — St. Charles County is joining a St. Louis regional drug monitoring program that seeks to reduce... More >>
12 hours ago September 27, 2016 Sep 27, 2016 Tuesday, September 27 2016 Tuesday, September 27, 2016 8:15:32 AM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Kansas City police are getting ready to begin testing body cameras. WDAF-TV ( http://bit.ly/2d6qtbI )... More >>
12 hours ago September 27, 2016 Sep 27, 2016 Tuesday, September 27 2016 Tuesday, September 27, 2016 8:06:34 AM CDT in News
PECULIAR (AP) — Authorities are investigating a fatal fire in western Missouri. The Cass County Sheriff's Office said in... More >>
12 hours ago September 27, 2016 Sep 27, 2016 Tuesday, September 27 2016 Tuesday, September 27, 2016 8:01:17 AM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Authorities have identified a homicide victim who was found inside a vehicle in Kansas City. ... More >>
13 hours ago September 27, 2016 Sep 27, 2016 Tuesday, September 27 2016 Tuesday, September 27, 2016 7:51:26 AM CDT in Continuous News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 66°
9pm 69°
10pm 66°
11pm 64°
12am 59°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00p
The Voice
9:00p
This Is Us
10:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 10
8:00p
MADtv
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Voice
9:00p
This Is Us
7:00p
The Flash
8:00p
MADtv
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld