Language Assistance / Interpreter Services

Hand-in-hand with our Patient & Family Centered Care philosophy, Language Assistance Services is dedicated to provide meaningful access to qualified medical interpreters.  We strive to improve access to care, quality of care and the health outcomes of our culturally and linguistically diverse patients.  Please review the following information carefully.        

Stony Brook University Hospital provides the following language assistance services:

Si usted necesita llamar al hospital desde la casa u otro lugar, llame al:  1-866-598-1175 (Un operador le ayudara a comunicarse con quien usted busca a traves de un interprete de espanol)

·   Pacific Interpreters (telephonic interpretation) – this is available via the dual handset telephones or by accessing the 1-866-593-4404 telephone number through any speaker phone

·   MARTTI (My Accessible Real Time Trusted Interpreter) – video interpretation – there is 1 MARTTI units available in our building.  They are used for sign language interpretation or any other language.

Questions and answers about language assistance services for patients with limited English proficiency:

1. Why does Stony Brook University Hospital provide language assistance services to patients who cannot speak English?         

Effective communication is a cornerstone of patient safety.  A patient’s right to effective patient-provider communication is supported by accreditation standards, regulatory guidelines and patient rights declarations.  Patients have the right to be informed about the care they receive, make educated decisions about their care and have the right to be listened to by their providers.
2. What is the hospital’s policy concerning discrimination? 
The hospital does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, or status as a disabled or Vietnam-era veteran.
3.  What does the hospital do to ensure that people with limited English proficiency have equal access to our services? 
The hospital takes reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to people who do not speak English.  This includes:                                          
·        providing language interpreters at no additional charge                    
·        translating written materials used by patients                                      
·        educating hospital staff, and informing patients of their rights to language assistance                  
·        providing dual handset phones with a direct connection to an interpreter agency at bedside   
·        providing two Spanish speaking interpreters on the staff of the hospital weekdays by calling Patient
 Advocacy at 631-444-2880.
4.  Who is responsible for ensuring that our patients receive the language assistance services they need?   
·       The Director of Patient Advocacy, Patient & Family Centered Care, Language Assistance Services coordinates language assistance services in the hospital. To reach a hospital-employed Spanish interpreter, call Patient Advocacy at 4-2880. Only a qualified interpreter should be used, otherwise please use the dual handset telephones.                                                              

 ·        All hospital staff members who come into contact with patients are responsible for identifying persons who need language assistance and for ensuring that language services are offered to them.

 5.  Who are LEP persons?    

Limited English Proficient (LEP) persons are people who have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English.              

6.  What proportion of people in Suffolk County do not speak English well?                                                                                              

A total of 6.7% of Suffolk County residents do not speak English very well.                                                                

A total of 17% of Suffolk residents speak a language other than English at home. 
The most common primary language spoken by Suffolk County residents who do not speak English is Spanish. 
7.  When should the need for language assistance be assessed?
The staff should assess the need for language assistance                          
·        at points of initial contact with patients                                             
·        during the clinical assessment of patients,                                            
·        while assessing barriers to learning                                                          
·        whenever doing outreach or publicity   
8.  How are LEP patients identified in the hospital? 
The Admitting Department issues blue wristbands to patients who require language assistance.  If the need is identified after admission, the nursing staff or clerk should notify Admitting immediately.  The Admitting office will send a blue wristband to the nursing unit.   
9.  What should you do if you encounter a patient who needs interpreter services?                                                                                

·        Pacific Interpreters should be used whenever possible. The staff are professionals trained to interpret in medical settings. To access an interpreter from Pacific see #11 below.                                                                                                    

 ·        In all cases, each LEP inpatient should always have a dual handset phone with a direct dial to our interpreting agency Pacific Interpreters at his/her bedside.                                                                                                                                   
10.  What should you do if you do not know what language the patient is speaking?                                                                              

Language Identification Reference Guides are available at the nursing stations, the Admitting office, and Language Assistance Services.  Show the guide to the patient and ask him or her to point to the language.  Or, you can call Pacific Interpreters and ask the operator to assist you.                                                                                                                                                      

11.  How can the telephone interpreter service be accessed?
·       For inpatients, there should always be a dual handset phone at bedside. From a dual handset phone, pick up the left receiver and press any of the three auto dial buttons on the top of the phone and you will be connected to Pacific Interpreters.                                              
·       From a non dual handset phone, dial 1-866-593-4404 and tell the operator your name, the name of the hospital (Stony Brook University Medical Center), language needed, caller's full name, caller's department, patient's name and medical record #.                        
 ·       Once connected, give the interpreter a brief overview of what you want to accomplish                 
 ·        Add the non-English speaker to the line or the other hand set if using a dual hand set phone.  If you are using a phone with a speaker, press speaker mode and hang up the receiver.  If you are using a phone without a speaker, pass the phone back and forth, or if conference calling is available, use two phones. 
12.  What if a relative or friend of the patient is available to serve as an interpreter?                                                                            

Some patients feel more comfortable using a family member or friend as an interpreter.  In these cases, the patient should be offered the choice of using the free services provided by the hospital or his/her own interpreter.                     

If the patient chooses to use his or her own interpreter, try to honor the patient’s wishes, but keep in mind issues related to the competency of the interpreter, confidentiality, privacy, and conflict of interest.                                            
Any individual acting as an interpreter should be 16 years of age or older; younger than 16 …should only be used in emergent circumstances and…documented in the medical record.
13.  The patient seems to have no problem understanding what I am saying in English, do I still have to use an interpreter?     

Yes. It is up to the patient and not us to determine what language we are to use. The patient made his/her choice and we should respect it. Each of us are responsible for ensuring that we communicate with all of our patients in the language of their choice.  

14.  What should you do if you need a sign language interpreter?       
MARTTI’s (My Accessible Real Time Trusted Interpreter) are available through the Switchboard Operator 24 hours/day for immediate sign-language needs.  The MARTTI’s provide immediate video translation for American Sign Language as well as over 100 additional languages.  Call the Switchboard and verify availability.  A unit staff member or Distribution Services can sign-out the MARTTI and bring to the unit.  Once interpretation is complete, the MARTTI is to be promptly returned to the Switchboard.                                             

Sign language interpreters can also be reached by going to the on call web site: Select the On Call Tab and search under “sign” (for Sign Language Interpreters).                      

15.  What documents are available in languages other than English?   
The hospital is translating all written forms that are given to patients into Spanish.    
16.  What is the procedure to follow for document translation?         
Click here to view the procedure for requesting document translation   
17.  Are consent forms available in Spanish?   
The following forms are available in Spanish:                                             
·    Consent to Admission (RM2C019ST)                                                        
·    Consent to an Operation or Procedure with Anesthesia (OR2C262ST)                                                
·    Consent/Refusal to Receive Blood Products (RM2C020ST), and   
·    Consent to Admission, Obstetrical Delivery, and Anesthesia (OB2C036ST).                                          
Additional consent forms are being translated and will be available soon.         
18.  How can these consent forms be obtained?
By completing a Print Center Request Form.
19.  Who should you call if you have a question about language assistance services?   
Patient Advocacy at (631) 444-2880