- Associated Press - Monday, July 20, 2015

CHARLESETON, W.Va. (AP) - Jefferson County health officials plan to expand bilingual efforts to reach the area’s growing Hispanic population. But they say the transition will take time and money.

The Jefferson County Health Department’s board discussed the issue at a recent meeting, The Journal (https://bit.ly/1gKawYY ) reported.

“It is a slow process, because there are so many things to do,” Christina Jackson, the department’s administrator, told the board. “And in many ways, this is a long-term project because we are looking at everything from our website to brochures.”

Board member Tom Trumble agreed that the bilingual efforts will take time and money.

“There is no doubt that Hispanics are a growing segment of our population, and that we want to do our best to serve them. I actually think we are off to a good start, but it would also be a good idea to again focus on what needs done,” Trumble said.

He said non-English speaking patients need to know that they will be treated even if they don’t have insurance or money. They also need to know that health department is not an extension of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Board member Lorena Nathan said she hopes brochures in Spanish are available when the Mexican consulate sponsors a local health fair in October. She said she had expected to see brochures in Spanish during the Mexican consulate’s recent visit to the area, but all of the brochurs were in English.

Nathan also said the department’s office in Kearneysville needs more signs in Spanish.

Jackson said additional signs in Spanish have been ordered for the office. The office also has a nurse who helps with some limited translation work and a telephone translation service is available there.

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Information from: The Journal, https://journal-news.net/

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