California Health Report: Hospitalized for COVID-19 and No Information: What Californians Who Speak an Indigenous Language Often Face (February 18, 2021)
Tens of thousands of Mexican and Central American immigrants in California speak Mixteco and other indigenous languages. These immigrants, who work mostly in agriculture and other essential jobs, have long struggled to get medical information and services in their languages, despite laws requiring medical facilities to offer interpretation in-person or through a dial-in service, advocates said.
Other non-English speakers are also struggling to get intelligible information and services during the pandemic. Justice in Aging and the Center for Medicare Advocacy recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of two community-based organizations in Los Angeles that work with older adults who speak limited English. These organizations have seen a surge in seniors who speak Chinese and other languages seeking help booking COVID-19 vaccine appointments, according to the lawsuit. The plaintiffs blame a rollback of language access protections by the Trump administration.