Being able to effectively communicate is key to accessing and providing high-quality care for people with disabilities. We know that language barriers are one reason people from Asian and Hispanic backgrounds have trouble applying for services. It stands to reason those same issues will apply once they begin receiving services.
Disability service providers in Maryland are obligated to provide language services to the primary caregiver of an adult with intellectual and developmental disabilities when the caregiver is providing medical decision-making support. While this is required under the Maryland Medical Assistance Provider Agreement, many providers are not aware of this responsibility. When providers do not have a staff person that speaks one of the top 15 languages spoken in Maryland, they must have a language services provider they can call on to provide interpretation and translation when needed.
To help Medicaid providers get started with meeting their language access responsibilities, Breaking Barriers recommends this guide from the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The key elements of a language plan include the following components included in this chart by CMS.