December 6, 2005

Contact: Jenny Savage (505) 272-3690; Sam Giammo (505) 272-3682

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH) has rolled out a welcome mat in the eyes of Vietnamese-speaking patients seeking medical care. Thanks to efforts by the University Interpreter Language Services Department, a copy of the UNMH Patient Bill of Rights is now available in Vietnamese.

Every day, between five and ten Vietnamese patients saddled with low-income salaries and a culturally diverse understanding of medical care enter the hospital. By overcoming the language barrier, these patients immediately gain access to healthcare rights and power.

"We have a responsibility to our community to provide quality care. As such, our interpreters adhere to a professional, national code of ethics, as well as a standard of performance so that our patients are treated professionally, and with courtesy and respect," said Antia Sanchez, unit director at the UNM Southeast Heights Clinic.

Translating the Patient Bill of Rights began in early 2005 and took nearly a month to complete. "It has been a rewarding, yet time-consuming task to create an efficient program that fulfills the needs of the culturally diverse patient population at the hospital," said Sanchez.

An award ceremony will be held at 10:00 a.m. on December 7, 2005 at the Southeast Heights Clinic to honor the individuals who worked tirelessly to develop the Vietnamese Patient Bill of Rights.