Is your hospital meeting IRS translation requirements?




By United Language Group

With 2017 right around the corner, we’ve had a number of health systems and hospitals contact us recently to help them translate their Financial Assistance Program materials by the end of the year. We were curious what was driving this new request so we did a little research.

The IRS Final Regulations


On December 29, 2014 the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service released final regulations implementing Affordable Care Act provisions that impose additional obligations on charitable hospital organizations covered by §501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The regulations affect more than 80 percent of U.S. hospitals, both the 60 percent that operate as private nonprofit entities and the 23 percent that operate as governmental units. The regulations became effective for taxable years beginning after December 29, 2015 (i.e., for the 2016 taxable year).

The reason behind the translation requirements

The final ruling intended to maintain frequent reminders to patients of the availability of financial aid while reducing the burden and cost of mailing multiple copies of a plain language summary of the Financial Assistance Program (FAP). The one change in the final regulations that may materially increase the paperwork burden relates to translations of the FAP and related documents. The final regulations expand the translation requirement to include the primary language spoken by a language group constituting the lesser of 1,000 individuals or 5 percent of the community served by the hospital. The translation requirement applies to the FAP, FAP application, plain-language summary of the FAP, and any separate billing and collection policy.

According to the federal register the regulation is as follows:

  • ii) Accessibility to limited English proficient individuals. To widely publicize its FAP, a hospital facility must accommodate all significant populations that have limited English proficiency (LEP) by translating its FAP, FAP application form, and plain language summary of the FAP into the primary language(s) spoken by such populations. A hospital facility will satisfy this translation requirement in a taxable year if it makes available translations of its FAP, FAP application form, and plain language summary of the FAP in the language spoken by each LEP language group that constitutes the lesser of 1,000 individuals or 5 percent of the community served by the hospital facility or the population likely to be affected or encountered by the hospital facility. For purposes of this paragraph (b)(5)(ii), a hospital facility may determine the percentage or number of LEP individuals in the hospital facility’s community or likely to be affected or encountered by the hospital facility using any reasonable method.

Translation tips to meet the end of year deadline

If you are looking to meet these regulations by the end of the year, we can help. We work with more than 400 healthcare organizations and have a 99% on-time delivery rate. When complying with any federally-mandated translation and associated implementation dates, make sure to consider the top timeline killers, which we’ve included in an infographic here:

You can also read more about our healthcare translation services here:

Ready to get started? Contact us today.


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