Better communication for better care


Patients come to Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH) services and clinics from many cultures and walks of life. For some, the hospital environment, when coupled with language difficulties, can cause unnecessary stress. Being heard and being able to understand are two of the major elements of all patient care needs, and without those, there are safety issues. That’s why CMH is partnered with a remote interpretation service. The partnership provides assistance in more than 100 languages for all patients at the hospital.

Interpretation services

Interpretation services are available 24/7 and allow caregivers to facilitate interpretation with real-time audio, video and in-person qualified interpreters. This is just one more service that assists CMH in offering the highest quality of patient-centered care — a core tenet of our Planetree philosophy.

Patients may request interpretation at any time, and there is never a cost to use the service. If you’re a patient at CMH and would like interpretation, just ask. Managers and leaders throughout the hospital are trained on the program and can easily assist with it. We will do our best to effectively communicate with you and get you the interpretation services you need as you are treated here at CMH.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How can patients request interpretation?

A: Caregivers throughout the hospital are available to help you. We will offer interpretation services anytime it seems appropriate, but you may also ask.

Q: Does it cost anything for patients to use interpretation?

A: No, the service is free to all CMH patients.

Q: Can patients use family members to interpret instead?

A: Not in most cases. While family members may act as interpreters in day-to-day situations, qualified medical interpreters are best in the hospital or clinic. These professionals are knowledgeable in medical terminology and able to thoroughly explain things to help the patient and the medical provider understand each other. Family members may act as an interpreter in life or death situations when a live interpreter is not immediately available.

Q: Will staff members assist in interpreting?

A: Staff must be qualified as certified interpreters to assist with interpretation. To be qualified, they must pass a spoken language test. This is a federally regulated requirement.

Masks continue to be required at CMH for patients, caregivers, and visitors.Learn More