Language assistance program

Get the interpretation services your patients need for clear communication.

We want our members to feel comfortable and clearly understand every aspect of their treatment. All plan members with an English-language barrier can get free translation services through Sharp Health Plan.


Member services

Under California law, contracted providers are required to cooperate and comply with Sharp Health Plan’s Language Assistance Program (LAP). Created to help enrollees with limited English proficiency  (LEP), there are several services available:

  • Linguistic matching
  • 24-hour interpreter access
  • Translation of written materials
  • Informational notices




Linguistic matching makes life easier

If a member doesn’t choose a primary care physician, Sharp Health Plan will automatically assign a doctor. We make sure the doctor is nearby and speaks the member’s identified language.



24-hour interpreter access

Request an interpreter for LEP members by calling Sharp Health Plan directly at: 858.499.8300 or at 1.800.359.2002. When you call the call center representative, make sure to have this information handy:

  • Patient’s member ID number, age, sex, preferred language and country of origin
  • Provider appointment date and time, office location, physician phone number, and appointment type

Please contact us at least 3 three days before the appointment to request an interpreter. Unfortunately, some languages may not be available, even with advance notice. In the event an interpreter is not available for face-to-face services, over-the-phone translation can be provided.



Translation of written materials

Written information, including the member handbook, form letters, member newsletters and medical care reminders, are translated into Spanish and other languages as requested at no cost to the member. Let your patients know they have this option, and can make requests by calling Sharp Health Plan at: 858.499.8300 or toll-free at 1.800.359.2002.



Translating informational notices

Members with limited English proficiency can get informational notices from the Department of Managed Health Care translated into their preferred language. These notices help them understand how to:

  • Contact Sharp Health Plan
  • File a complaint
  • Get assistance from the Department of Managed Health Care
  • Seek an independent medical review

Download or print these informational notices at If you need a printed copy, you can request one by writing to Department of Managed Health Care, Attention: HMO Help Notices, 980 9th St., Suite 500, Sacramento, CA 95814.



Provider responsibilities

As a provider, it’s your responsibility to provide limited English proficiency members access to covered benefits. In order to comply with federal and state requirements regarding cultural and linguistic services, you need to provide the same quality services to all members. It is not permissible to turn a member away or limit participation because of language barriers; to subject a member to unreasonable delays due to language barriers; nor to provide services to LEP members that are lower in quality than those offered in English.

Here are some tips to help facilitate effective communication with limited English proficiency members:

  • Call Sharp Health Plan if you need help in providing language assistance services (interpretation, translated documents, etc.) for any of your Sharp Health Plan patients.
  • Document language requirements in patients' medical charts.
  • Inform patients of their right to interpreter services, at no cost to the patient, even when a patient is accompanied by a family member or friend who can provide interpretation services. Remember, a patient should never be required to bring his or her own interpreter, and a patient’s family members should not be encouraged to serve as interpreters. In addition, minors should not be used as interpreters.
  • Document all interpreter requests and refusals in patients’ medical charts.
  • Inform patients that they may call Sharp Health Plan to request translated documents at no cost them and register their preferred languages with the plan.
  • Post signs in appropriate languages informing Sharp Health Plan patients of the availability of free interpreter services.
  • Prior to meeting with a patient, look to see if his or her language needs have been documented in the file.
  • Provide periodic training to office staff on cultural competency and use of interpreters.
  • To provide timely access to care, arrange for interpreting services at the time appointments are made.
  • Find additional information and resources on serving patients with limited English proficiency, contact Sharp Health Plan at 858.499.8300, toll-free at 800.359.2002 or email us at



Additional language assistance program information

Language Assistance Program Provider Notification – June 2016
ICE Provider Tools to Care for Diverse Populations
Individual Provider FAQ
Language Assistance Program Provider Summary
Translator and Interpreter Proficiency Standards
Tips for Documenting Refusal of Interpretive Services
Tips for Working with Interpreters
Tips for Working with Limited English Proficient (LEP) Members

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