How do we answer people who say they want to learn a foreign language so they can work with patients?

There’s an interesting article online, called “Let’s not contribute to disparities” on the National Institutes of Health website. In the Federal Register announcement of the proposed rule on Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities posted August 4, 2022, it says:

… clinicians with basic or intermediate non-English spoken language skills often attempt to communicate with the patient on their own without using an interpreter, increasing patient risk.

The ILR Skill Level Descriptions should help administrators and staff be able to determine the required levels of competence to use a language professionally in a given setting.

ILR skill level descriptions

These levels are compared with the ACTFL levels in the following chart.

Correspondence of proficiency scales


Article updated with reference to Federal Register on August 26, 2022.