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Communication Assistance is a Right
The most significant legal statute regarding language access in hospital settings lies in Federal Civil Rights Law; specifically Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under Title VI no program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance may discriminate based on national origin, which includes immigrants with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). Furthermore, in order to reinforce compliance with Title VI, Executive Order 13166 was signed by President Clinton in 2000. The Bush Administration in a memorandum by Assistant Attorney General Ralph F. Boyd, Jr. reaffirmed this Executive order in 2002.
Moreover, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990 and is one of America's most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else. It was modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The ADA is an "equal opportunity" law for people with disabilities. Under this law it is required to provide auxiliary aids and services, including interpretation, for deaf or hard-hearing patients.