Removing Language Barriers to Give Proper Health Care in Sioux Falls
Helping a growing community become a more healthy community sometimes produces challenges not normally seen at a typical care facility. Providers and patients need help to properly communicate.
Falls Community Health assists people that have limited resources when medical care is needed. Director Jill Franken admits Sioux Falls is unique with the number of foreign languages they encounter.
“We have several staff that are speaking a number of different languages, (but) we can’t cover it all. In many cities you might have primarily Spanish-speaking (people). You might have a really dense population from maybe one part of an African country.”
It’s estimated that over 140 languages are spoken in Sioux Falls and Franken says finding sources to translate is costly but necessary.
“We have to rely on Language Line or contracts with interpreter organizations in Sioux Falls. A pretty significant part of our expense is covering the interpreter needs which is required of us. We have to be able to provide those interpreter services to give effective care to our patients.”
Beyond understanding language, Franken also has to navigate the different cultural practices and continually learn what is acceptable. According to Franken the cost for interpreter services at Falls Community Health works into the six-figure range annually.
Falls Community Health has a primary location on North Main Avenue. They also have satellite locations at various elementary schools in Sioux Falls.