Iowa is made up of residents well beyond just white farmers who only speak English. A network of Iowa hospitals has started a program for training language interpreters after seeing demand rise 200-percent in the past few years. David Jones is manager of interpretation services at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, which is starting to train new interpreters in hospitals across Iowa.Jones says they have people who speak 11 languages on staff and they’ve seen people speaking 42 languages at the hospital in the past three years. They’re also training community interpreters, not just for hospitals but for the Des Moines area at large. Jones says they strive to be able to help anyone who walks in, speaking whatever language, from Arabic to Vietnamese.He says they have most demand for Spanish, Serbo-Croation and American sign language. Jones says Iowa has 52-thousand new immigrants, almost half of whom don’t have health insurance and most of whom are unfamiliar with our health care system. The Mercy network includes some 16 other Iowa hospitals. Jones say they’ve already started a similar interpretation program at Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa in Mason City and it will expand to others soon. He says Iowa’s constantly growing on many levels — linguistically, ethnically and culturally. The Mercy Health Network includes the following: Adair County Memorial Hospital in Greenfield, Ringgold County Hospital in Mt. Ayr, Audubon County Memorial Hospital in Audubon, Decatur County Hospital in Leon, Center for Behavioral Services in Centerville, Madison County Health Care System in Winterset, Clarinda Regional Health Center, Mercy Medical Center- Centerville, Davis County Hospital in Bloomfield, Madrid Home for the Aging, Hamilton Hospital in Webster City, Story County Medical Center in Nevada, Manning Regional Healthcare Center, Wayne County Hospital in Corydon, Monroe County Hospital in Albia, and Valley View Village in Des Moines.
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