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Translation services available to Kentucky EMS providers

KBEMS negotiates agreement for more than 200 spoken languages

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 14, 2014) – In a medical emergency, EMS professionals often need vital information immediately from a patient or caregiver. A language barrier could delay critical communication between the patient and EMS personnel. Recognizing the need to serve a diverse population, the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services (KBEMS) announced a new agreement to offer translation services at a discounted rate to all EMS agencies in the state of Kentucky.

Through a negotiated agreement, Pacific Interpreters Inc. will offer translation services for more than 200 languages, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year. The group rate offered through KBEMS is a pay-as-needed service. For example, if an EMS team responds to a patient who says “Tengo dolores en el pecho,” after a quick call to a designated toll-free number a Spanish speaking translator can talk directly to the patient and EMS professionals to translate the patient’s emergency, “I’m having chest pains.”

“This service will assist in meeting the needs of Kentucky’s diverse population,” said Michael Poynter, KBEMS executive director. “Seconds matter during a medical emergency and language should not be a barrier in providing lifesaving care in any region of our state.”

EMS agencies interested in learning more about the service and negotiated rates should contact KBEMS for registration information.

“It shouldn’t matter what language a patient uses to ask for help,” Poynter said. “This service will ensure all Kentucky residents or tourists can communicate with EMS providers to get the emergency care they need.”

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