Lawsuit claims interpreter requirement for providers unjust

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Nursing homes and other healthcare providers will no longer have to provide language interpretation services for non-English speaking patients if a lawsuit filed Tuesday succeeds.

Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) filed a lawsuit in San Diego to attempt blocking the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services from enforcing a rule that requires nursing homes and other facilities that receive federal funds to provide language interpretation and translation services to patients who speak limited English.

The lawsuit claims that such requirements are illegal and place severe financial and administrative burdens on healthcare providers, limiting the number of patients who can be cared for by doctors and driving up healthcare costs.

Failure to abide by the law puts providers at risk of losing federal reimbursement. HHS created the rule as a response to former President Clinton's order that better services be provided for non-English speaking residents.

PLF is joined by representatives of the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, ProEnglish, and other medical professionals in the lawsuit.