Hearing-Deaf - Fact Sheet

Department of Managed Health Care
Communication Assistance - Hearing Disabilities Fact Sheet

Alternate Formats

Understand Your Health Care

If you are Deaf and use a sign language interpreter

Why does this matter?

It is very important to understand your health care. For example, you need to understand your doctor’s advice. You need to ask questions and understand the answers.

What can you get?

  • You can get a sign language interpreter when you talk to your doctor.
  • You can get more time for appointments, if you need it.
  • You can get a sign language interpreter to explain forms and other written information, if you need it.

Who needs a sign language interpreter?

You might need it if you are Deaf. You might also need it if you are helping someone get health care – such as your child, another family member, or a friend.

What if I can’t get a sign language interpreter?

You can file a complaint with your health plan. The phone number is on your membership card. Or call the Help Center at 1-888-466-2219. TTY 1-877-688-9891

Do I have a right to this help?

Yes, if you are Deaf. California health laws and the Americans with Disabilities Act protect your rights.

Do I pay for a sign language interpreter?

No. There is no cost to you.

Is it okay to depend on written notes?

Written notes may work for a short visit, like getting a flu shot. But often, an interpreter or other assistance is important, so you can ask questions and get answers.

Sign language interpreter assists patient communicating with doctor


Communication assistance:


Sign language interpreter
The interpreter can be in the same room with you, or on a video screen.

Sign language interpreter displayed on video screen



CART (computer assisted real time transcription services) For CART, someone types words into a computer. You can read the words on the screen. The typist can be at the doctor’s office or can listen by phone. This may be helpful if you have hearing loss but you don’t use sign language.
Pictures, models and captioned videos These tools can help you understand your care. Captions are words that appear at the bottom of the screen – you can read them if you have trouble hearing.

image of laptop running CART program




I do not read well. Can I get help with written information?

Yes, you can ask for an interpreter to explain the information below. The interpreter can help you get your questions answered.
Information from your health plan

  • Your benefits and costs
  • The doctors and hospitals you can use
  • Forms to use if you have a problem

Information from your pharmacy

  • How to take your medicines
  • Safety information about your medicines

Information from your doctors

  • Preparing for a test or surgery
  • Follow-up care
  • Information about your health
  • Appointment reminders
  • Forms to sign

Put a note in your file

Tell your health plan, doctors, and pharmacy if you need a sign language interpreter. Ask them to keep this information in your record.