I live in a total world of silence. I was born deaf, graduated from Nebraska School for the Deaf and thrown into a world of hearing people and employers who don't know sign language, my way of communication.

Last week, I ran out of refills on my blood pressure and cholesterol pills. I contacted my pharmacist, who contacted my doctor. I was informed that I would have to see my doctor every three months to have my prescriptions filled.

Also, my doctor would no longer provide a live interpreter, but I must pay for one. Being on welfare, I could not afford to pay $50 to $100 for an interpreter. They said they would provide a TV monitor with an interpreter. I told them I did not understand many words on TV monitors that interpreters would explain to me.

Bryan Medical Center, according to law, always provides me with a live interpreter when I request in advance rather than a TV monitor.

I then asked my brother to help me with this problem. He called the Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. He researched the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title III of which states doctors are required to provide interpreters that the patient understands for medical visits so the patient receives a true picture of his or her condition -- even if the cost of the interpreter is more than that of the doctor's visit.

The doctor's office said Medicaid will now pay for a live interpreter for my appointments. This passes the cost of the interpreter onto the State of Nebraska rather than the private doctor's institution.

Christine Huenink, Lincoln


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