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Young Kim

Oct 26, 2023 | Health, Press Releases

Washington, DC – This week, U.S. Representative Young Kim (CA-40) joined Rep. Michelle Steel (CA-45) and colleagues to introduce the Supporting Patient Education and Knowledge (SPEAK) Act (H.R. 6033) to reduce language barriers to health care access. 

This bipartisan bill would require Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Becerra to create a task force to develop recommendations and best practices for addressing barriers for Americans with limited English proficiency in health care information technology, such as telehealth and patient portals.

Reps. Kim and Steel were joined by Reps. Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Juan Ciscomani (AZ-06), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Tony Cardenas (CA-29), Monica De La Cruz (TX-15), Lou Correa (CA-46), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Juan Vargas (CA-52), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), and Judy Chu (CA-28).

“Language barriers should not keep Americans from accessing health care. As someone whose second language is English and the representative of a diverse district with Americans of different backgrounds, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to express health care needs and know what resources are available,” said Rep. Young Kim. “The SPEAK Act will help us reduce barriers to health care while taking advantage of innovative health technologies.”

“California’s 45th district is home to nearly 40% Asian Americans, many of which English is their second language,” said Rep. Michelle Steel. “As the daughter of a non-English speaking immigrant, I understand the need for an increase in translation options, especially in health care. Patients with limited English are at greater risk for medical errors and $1.7 billion in medical malpractice costs over five years could have been avoided with better patient communication. I am proud to lead the charge to help make it easier for all Americans to access health care services.”

The legislation is supported by: National Immigration Law Center (NILC), American Medical Association (AMA), Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC), Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), America’s Essential Hospitals, LIBRE Initiative, Justice in Aging, California Medical Association, Association of Language Companies, National Health Law Program, UnidosUS, American Translators Association, and Transcarent.

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