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Pérez bill could add to health reform costs
Sacramento Bee

Assembly Bill 1263 by Speaker John A. Pérez seeks to improve and expand medical interpreter services for Medi-Cal patients. The measure highlights a real health care dilemma. Access to care can be difficult if patients don’t speak English well.

Without a qualified interpreter, it’s sometimes difficult for non-English speaking patients to describe their symptoms or for health care providers to make sure, for example, that patients understand a drug regimen.

A University of California, Los Angeles, survey in 2009 found that 12 percent of Medi-Cal patients had a hard time understanding their doctors because of limited English skills. That number is expected to swell as the federal Affordable Care Act is fully implemented in coming years.

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