TRANSLATING MEDICAID

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FYI: Four years after the feds told the Human Resources Administration that it must provide translation services to clients seeking public assistance at its facilities, the majority of Medicaid recipients in a recent study were not getting language help. Community organization Make the Road by Walking surveyed 101 Spanish, Russian and Chinese-speaking Medicaid recipients with limited English skills who were seeking services at the central Medicaid office in Midtown this summer. Sixty percent said their case workers had not told them about their right to translation services, 43 percent said their benefits had been denied or interrupted because of language problems and 28 percent said they felt humiliated by the language barrier. The group will stage a protest outside of the central Medicaid office at 11 a.m. tomorrow to mark the report’s release and push a City Council bill that would require all HRA offices that get more than 100 visitors a week needing language assistance to provide translation at all times. [9/3/03]