In a retrospective cohort study of 1,257 children less than 18 years old published online this week , it turns out that those w/parents w/limited English proficiency stayed in the hospital longer (average 6.1 days) than those whose parents spoke English well (average 4 days). At $2,500/hospital day in the facilities studied, this leads to an increased cost to society of at least $5,000 per child per stay.But what about those of us for whom English is not our native tongue? What about those of us who have not yet had a chance to become proficient in reading, speaking & understanding spoken (American, not Australian, British, or New Zealand), much less, written English?
Given that 1 in 5 residents speaks a language other than English at home, half of whom acknowledge limited English proficiency, the additional cost to our society is tremendous, especially in a time when Nevada is contemplating drastic cutbacks in funding for our elementary & high schools as well as our universities & medical school. Lest I am misunderstood, I write this not from a xenophobic perspective but rather to urge our legislatures to think ahead about the potential repercussions of their budget cuts and instead to invest in our future, our children. If our children don't get the education they need, our grandchildren may very well end up staying in the hospital far longer than necessary.