As a result of the severe economic crisis and budget cutbacks, the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH) will no longer have funds to provide on-call interpreters for hospital emergencies during evening, weekend, and holiday hours. Effective November 30, 2009, the MCDHH Emergency After Hours Referral Service will be able to refer only for legal/police emergencies. This change does not alter the fact that Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals have the right to qualified interpreters during hospital emergencies, and it continues to be the hospitals' responsibility to provide communication access in event that a Deaf or Hard of Hearing person is involved in a hospital emergency.

After- Hours Referral for Legal/Police Emergencies

During evenings, nights, weekends and holidays, the MCDHH Emergency Interpreter Service line is forwarded to an "after hours" answering service which pages available, legally approved interpreters.

Week day Referral for Legal/Police, Medical, and other Emergencies

For emergency requests for interpreters during regular workdays, Monday through Friday, 8:45 am to 5:00 pm, call 1-800-249-9949 TTY/Voice. This is a hotline for emergencies only and is answered by the staff of the MCDHH Interpreter Referral Service. During regular workdays when MCDHH office is open, MCDHH will seek to contact and refer qualified, available interpreters as soon as possible but does not currently have on-call interpreters waiting and dedicated for emergency purposes.

For all non-emergency situations, you must continue to call MCDHH at 617-740-1600 Voice and 617-740-1700 TTY Monday through Friday, 8:45 am to 5:00 pm. Requests for non-emergencies will not be accepted on the emergency line.

This information is provided by the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.