FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NOV. 9, 2015
Contact: Mary Tablante;
National Council of Asian Pacific Americans Supports Language Access in Affordable Care Act
Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) and Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) also ask the Department of Health and Human Services to support nondiscrimination and language access
The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) submitted a comment letter to the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services on the proposed rule to implement Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, regarding nondiscrimination. The proposed rule, Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities, would prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in certain health programs and activities. National origin discrimination in particular includes discrimination based on English proficiency and immigrant status, so this rule is of utmost importance to our diverse communities that encapsulate more than 100 languages.
“We strongly support the Department of Health and Human Services in its proposed implementation of Section 1557, a vital part of the Affordable Care Act that ensures that our communities are protected from all forms of discrimination,” said NCAPA National Director Christopher Kang. “An estimated 9 million limited English proficient individuals are thought to be uninsured, and one third of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander population is limited English proficient. Culturally and linguistically appropriate resources are necessary for our communities to have equal access to the health care they need and deserve, and we appreciate the opportunity to express our support and provide additional recommendations.”
Members of the NCAPA Health Committee also submitted comment letters and issued the following statements:
"In our member health centers, we see that language assistance services are essential to connecting patients with care,” said Jeffrey Caballero, executive director of the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO). “We join NCAPA in calling for strong protections to ensure that Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Other Pacific Islanders, and all individuals have equal access to health care, regardless of the language they speak.”
“No one should face a barrier to accessing healthcare due to the language they speak, yet many Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders find themselves in that position, whether it is navigating health insurance or trying to communicate with a physician,” said Kathy Ko Chin, president and CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF). “Section 1557 builds upon existing federal civil rights protections and is a critical opportunity to ensure meaningful access to federally supported and operated health care programs and services.”
We thank the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services for the opportunity to submit comments and strongly support this proposed rule. Further, we recommend that the rule be applied to all federally funded activities.
Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 35 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.