eNewsChannels: medical interpreting

WASHINGTON, D.C. /eNewsChannels/ — NEWS: A white paper titled “The Perfect Storm,” co-authored by Izabel E. T. de V. Souza, and Louis F. Provenzano Jr., has just been published, calling for a multi-stakeholder national effort to reimburse medical interpreting (MI) services.

This white paper discusses trends, research studies, and data, pointing to the need for an immediate paradigm shift. The cost analysis quantifies the problem and the specific cost benefits of reimbursement. The reality is that almost 20 percent of the population is language minority, and while covered by private insurers, Medicaid, and Medicare, this minority group does not receive meaningful care due to language barriers. Hospitals across the country are doing what they can in order to provide these services as an administrative cost, but many are suffering budget cuts across all departments, including interpreter services departments, if they have one.

Organizations such as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), and The Joint Commission (TJC) may decide to consider ways to get hospitals reimbursed. This paradigm shift is clearly a win-win for all parties. There is a need to move in lock step to ensure equality and effective care for ALL patients, including language minority patients.

As President John F. Kennedy said long ago, “Simple justice requires that public funds, to which all taxpayers of all races [colors and national origins] contribute, not be spent in any fashion which encourages, entrenches, subsidizes, or results in racial discrimination.”

This white paper can be found at

About Izabel E. T. de V. Souza:

Souza is a passionate global advocate for language access in healthcare. She is the former President and Executive Director of the International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA – and also the former Secretary General of the International Federation of Translators (FIT – Together with Louis F. Provenzano, Souza founded the first national organization to certify medical interpreters, the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (

She has been a professor at Boston University and Cambridge College, and is now working towards her PhD in medical interpreting at Osaka University, Japan. As an ISO and ASTM standards expert, Souza contributes to the development of standards for the language professions worldwide. Souza writes curriculum, publishes frequently for various publications and her blog discussing various facets of language access in healthcare at

About Louis F. Provenzano Jr.:

Louis F. Provenzano Jr. is the Co-founder of Certified Medical Interpreters, LLC and former Chief Executive Officer of Language Line Services. He frequently writes on language access issues on various publications and on his personal blog at Provenzano has a newsletter on language news and events at Together with Louis Provenzano, Souza founded the first national organization to certify medical interpreters, the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters ( and are now writing a new book on the pathway to National Medical Interpreter Certification and Reimbursement for Hospitals and Healthcare organizations around the country.

Provenzano is an active medical interpreter advocate and lobbyist in Washington D.C. and has won several awards for his work. Provenzano is the recipient of the Friends of CHIA (California Healthcare Interpreters Association), the Hispanic Leadership Award (San Francisco Chamber of Commerce), the Monterey Business Council Top Leaders of 2012, and the Raquel Cashman Language Access Award (International Medical Interpreters Association).*Caption: Louis Provenzano and Izabel E. T. de V. Souza have been advocating for medical interpreters since 2007.

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