Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Language Assistance
as per Presidential Executive Order 13166:

“Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency”

Issue Date: July 3, 2006
Effective Date: July 3, 2006
Policy Number: 2006-001

(I) Purpose & Background

This policy affirms the Nebraska Health and Human Services System’s (HHSS) federal statutory and regulatory obligations for taking reasonable measures to provide meaningful access to services for Limited English Proficient (LEP) persons pursuant to Presidential Executive Order 13166: “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency” (August 11, 2000).

This policy is informed by Executive Order 13166 per se and, “Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons” (Federal Register, August 8, 2003; Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); Volume 68, Number 153; pp. 47311-47323). This Federal Register policy guidance is not a regulation, but rather a guide.

Section 601 of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000d, provides that no person shall “on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulations 45 CFR 80.3(b)(2) require all recipients of federal financial assistance from HHS to take reasonable measures to provide meaningful access to their services for LEP persons. Grantees (sub-recipients) likewise are affected when federal funds are passed through the HHSS.

This policy recognizes the considerable range of successful efforts exerted for some time throughout the HHSS in providing meaningful access to services for LEP persons through reasonable language assistance. These efforts are grounded in ongoing commitment to the HHSS’s mission—“We help people live better lives through effective health and human services.”—and the culture principles that guide the HHSS in pursuit of its mission, the HHSS’s Five Cs.

Communication —Keeping people informed—being responsive, accurate, and complete in all we say and write. Our customers—the people we work with and the public—believe we are open and accessible, and listen actively for understanding.

Cooperation —Working jointly with customers in good faith toward solutions and continuous improvement.

Collaboration —Trusting partnerships with customers in pursuit of common goals.

Customer Service —Responsive, respectful, and effective services. Our customers understand that we value them, and are accountable to their needs.

Confidence —Customer reliance on effective and efficient service delivered with integrity and professional commitment.

In this policy the terms ‘service’ and ‘program’ are understood to encompass: participation in programs and activities; access to benefits and information; exercise of rights; and other opportunities for which a LEP person is otherwise eligible.

(II) ‘Limited English Proficient Persons’ Defined

 “Individuals who do not speak English as their primary language and who have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English may be limited English proficient, or ‘LEP’, and may be eligible to receive language assistance with respect to a particular type of service, benefit, or encounter.” This includes parents “and legal guardians of minors eligible for coverage concerning such programs.”

 

(III) Four-Factor Analysis for Determining Reasonable Language Assistance for Meaningful Access to Services for LEP Persons

While designed to be a flexible and fact-dependent standard, the starting point is an individualized assessment that balances the following four factors. After applying this four-factor analysis, it may be concluded that different language assistance measures are reasonable and sufficient for different types of HHSS services, or, in fact, that, in certain circumstances, provision of language assistance is not necessary.

(1) Demography—The number or proportion of LEP persons from a particular language group eligible to be served or likely to be encountered by the HHSS (including whether minor children served have LEP parent(s) or guardian(s) with whom HHSS staff may need to interact). The greater the number or proportion of LEP persons from a particular language group, the more likely that language assistance in that language is reasonable.

(2)  Frequency—The frequency with which the HHSS comes in contact with LEP persons from a particular language group

(3) Impact—The importance and urgency of HHSS services provided to LEP persons’ lives

(4) Resources—The resources available to the HHSS and costs associated with providing meaningful access to services to LEP persons through reasonable language assistance

(IV) Five-Step LEP Language Assistance Implementation Guidance

 

(I)—Identify LEP persons by language group with whom the HHSS has contact, or with whom the HHSS might reasonably predict contact, and who may require reasonable language assistance for meaningful access to services

 

(II)—Explore methods of LEP language assistance

 

There are two main ways for the HHSS to provide language assistance: Oral interpretation, either in person, via telephone, or via audio/video recordings, and written translation. HHSS programs have substantial flexibility in determining the appropriate mix of reasonable interpretation and translation language assistance provided. The correct mix of language assistance is based on what is both meaningful and reasonable in light of the four-factor analysis.

  • Interpretation is the act of listening to something in one language (source language) and orally translating it into another language (target language).

  • Translation is the replacement of a written text from one language (source language) into an equivalent written text in another language (target language).

(III)—Train selected HHSS staff on LEP language assistance implementation

(IV)—Provide notice to LEP persons of HHSS services and the availability of reasonable language assistance

(V)—Monitor and update LEP language assistance implementation

Policy Title: Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Language Assistance as per Presidential Executive Order 13166: “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency”

Policy Approved: July 3, 2006
Policy Effective: July 3, 2006
Policy Owner: HHSS Policy Secretary
Agency: Department of Finance & Support

Adopted by the Policy Cabinet: July 3, 2006