Interpreters for deaf patients

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires a physician to provide an interpreter for a deaf patient if notified and requested to do so.

The health care provider is expected to handle the cost of an interpreter as a normal business expense or as part of overhead operating costs.

A family member or friend should not perform this service because they cannot be expected to be neutral and sign everything they hear. 

Please see this memorandum from the Florida Department of Health and this publication from the U.S. Department of Justice for more detailed discussion of this issue.

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