Qualified Bilingual Staff Program | Maryland | Adventist HealthCare

Qualified Bilingual Staff Program

Bilingual staff working in healthcare settings are often used to interpret for patients who speak the same language. Being bilingual is not enough to interpret. There are federal regulations and accreditation standards about effective communication in healthcare. The Qualified Bilingual Staff (QBS) Program educates bilingual staff on the legal and ethical requirements associated with interpreting for limited English proficient (LEP) patients and family members in a clinical setting. Program participants are equipped with the necessary skills to provide high quality interpreting during clinical encounters.

Miscommunication between patients and providers may result in misunderstandings, loss of information, and medical errors. Linguistically and culturally appropriate healthcare services are central to providing high quality care and improving patient outcomes. Qualified bilingual staff are an integral part of providing culturally and linguistically excellent care.

Who is eligible for the Qualified Bilingual Staff Program?

The program targets bilingual, dual-role staff working in healthcare (i.e., staff communicating directly in the patient’s preferred language or staff interpreting for colleagues and patients).

How do I become a Qualified Bilingual Staff?

  1. Submit a formal application. See below for registration information.
  2. Attend the entire 3-day (24-hour) Qualified Bilingual Staff training.
  3. Take an over-the-phone assessment that will determine your level of language proficiency in both English and your language of service (LOS). Upon successfully passing the test, you will be certified as either QBS Level 1 or Level 2:
    • Level 1 QBS employees can interpret for conversational/customer service encounters only (e.g. reception, billing).
    • Level 2 QBS employees can interpret in various clinical settings where understanding of medical terminology and concepts is required (e.g. exam room).

Why do I need to be trained and tested if I am already confident in my language proficiency?

According to Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the use of unqualified interpreters (i.e., minors and bilingual staff who are not tested or trained) is prohibited in healthcare organizations. If an organization chooses to use bilingual staff as interpreters, they must test the staff’s language proficiency and teach them about standards of practice and code of ethics for interpreting.

How is the language proficiency assessment administered?

The language proficiency assessment is completed over-the-phone and requires a computer with internet access.

What languages are available for testing and certification?

Currently, 16 non-English languages may be assessed as part of the training:

Amharic Farsi Khmer (Cambodian) Russian
Arabic French Korean Spanish
Armenian Japanese Mandarin Tagalog
Cantonese Hindi Portuguese Vietnamese

What can I expect at the training?

The QBS training is very interactive. Participants can expect a mixture of lectures, videos, group discussions, activities, and role plays. Topics covered include, but are not limited to:

  • Legal and Regulatory Requirements
  • Cultural Competency & Diversity
  • Managing the Interpreting Session
  • Varying Roles of Interpreters
  • Demonstration of Interpreting Skills

For more information or to register, contact QBS@AdventistHealthCare.com or call 301-315-3140.

Contact Us

For more information or to register for our Qualified Bilingual Staff Program, contact:


Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.