Naugatuck Valley Project, Inc.
Providing language interpretation services for the Lower Valley’s Latino and recent immigrant population.
For individuals with limited English proficiency, language can create a barrier to good health. Patients and providers have to be able to listen and learn from each other to properly diagnose health problems.
For the growing Naugatuck Valley immigrant population, it’s an obstacle that the Naugatuck Valley Project (NVP) is has been working to remove since 2005, with the help of multiple grants from CT Health.
The factors motivating community organizations to form the NVP are evident. With Naugatuck Valley’s immigrant population growing dramatically during the last decade, Latino residents now make up nearly one quarter of the population in some Valley cities.
And many here do not speak English well enough to make the health care system work effectively for them.
This led Valley congregations, neighborhood organizations, labor unions, housing cooperatives and small businesses to create the NVP Health Care Interpretation Project and set several goals to help overcome this problem. Among them:
- Research and document the extent of language-based health care barriers
- Build relationships with Valley health care providers
- Develop a plan with hospitals for better interpretation services
- Help build regional and statewide support to pass a new law that would provide medical interpreters to Medicaid and HUSKY beneficiaries
- Place face-to-face interpreters in all four Valley hospitals
- Develop training for medical interpreters
The NVP had the support of an 18-month, $70,000 CT Health grant awarded in 2005 to help fund this initiative, followed by a second grant of $150,000 for two years, through 2009.
Armed with policy research commissioned by CT Health, the NVP joined 25 allied groups and the Hispanic Health Council to secure new legislation mandating Medicaid reimbursement for interpretation services. Although implementation has been postponed until 2014, momentum from this coalition led to the establishment of a professional association for medical interpreters that will adopt and maintain standards for training and certification.
Through 2009, the NVP also established broader community education through workshops in Valley institutions on how to use the health care systems and how to ask for a medical interpreter.
With these successful partnerships, policy advancements, and ongoing advocacy efforts, the NVP has dramatically improved the patient-provider experience for these communities.