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Sign language interpreter contract transition
The Health Care Authority (HCA) utilizes the Department of Enterprise Services (DES) master contract to obtain sign language interpreters. The Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH) oversees the master contracts and partners with HCA to improve access to sign language interpreters for eligible Apple Health (Medicaid) clients.
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In 2020, HCA switched from using a single coordinating entity for all spoken and sign language interpreter requests to using the dedicated sign language contracts managed by ODHH. In spring of 2020, DES and ODHH entered into a cooperative purchase agreement to provide statewide sign language interpreter services through master contracts available to all state agencies.
There are two master contracts:
- Independent contractors: Sign language interpreters who coordinate their scheduling and business directly with the requestor, rather than through an agency.
- Sign language interpreter referral agencies: Contractors who seek out and schedule appropriate interpreters for your request. There is an additional booking fee.
In January 2021, ODHH created the Interpreter Request Form for Medical Providers using Apple Health for all sign language interpreter requests. The new form replaces all other versions, and is screen reader compatible.
If you have questions about the master contracts or request form please contact ODHH:
For questions not about HCA's Interpreter Services program not addressed below, contact us at email@example.com.
Stakeholder meeting: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all stakeholder meetings have been postponed until further notice.
Clients: Your health care provider is required to provide spoken and sign language access, according to the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For more information, visit the Interpreter services (clients) webpage.
ODHH created a new sign language interpreter request form based in Microsoft Word. Upload the new Interpreter Request Form for Medical Providers using Apple Health into ProviderOne when you submit your request for an interpreter. This form replaces all other versions, and is screen reader compatible.
What does this mean for me?
- You must begin using the new Interpreter Request Form for Medical Providers using Apple Health.
- If you submit an older version of the interpreter request form in ProviderOne, your request will be returned to you and you will need to resubmit using the new form.
- Using the new form is required because it is screen reader compatible, and some sign language contractors require screen readers.
View the Prior authorization (PA) webpage for more information about:
- How to submit a prior authorization request
- How to check the status of an authorization
What if I have a last minute request?
If you need an interpreter and the client's appointment is less than seven days away, the request can be expedited by:
- Submit your request and attach the Interpreter Request Form for Medical Providers using Apple Health in ProviderOne.
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the date of the appointment and the reference number assigned by ProviderOne.
- The subject line must include the reference number.
The sign language master contracts permit local sign language interpreters to provide access through your video conference technology. Sign language interpreters may provide language access services using whatever video platform your office utilizes.
You are responsible for:
· Documenting the appointment is remote on the interpreter request form
· Documenting the platform that will be used
· Including the link to the appointment for the interpreter to join
· Providing technical assistance to the interpreter in accessing and utilizing your video platform
Requesting remote sign language interpreters
You must complete section I, II, III of the Interpreter Request Form for Medical Providers using Apple Health in order for your request to be accepted.
What about DeafBlind clients?
For appointments with DeafBlind clients, a hearing interpreter and Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) will be provided. The hearing interpreter will participate remotely. The CDI is an essential staff and will be in the same location with the DeafBlind client.
Both interpreters will be provided the video platform link you include in the Interpreter Request Form for Medical Providers using Apple Health. The sign language contractor will help coordinate this. If you have questions or need assistance, you must contact the sign language contractor.
To view a flow chart of the visual process and for additional information, please visit the DSHS Sign Language Interpreters webpage.
- Step by step Prior Authorization Submission presentation: Presentation for Apple Health providers with technical questions about the new process, including detailed instructions on how to submit requests through ProviderOne
- New sign language process overview: Overview of the new sign language request process for Apple Health providers
- Quick reference desk aid for submitting a sign language request in ProviderOne
- Quick reference desk aid for checking the status of a sign language request in ProviderOne
- Deaf Choice Qualified Sign Language Interpreter Request form
- Provider's guide on how to bill for sign language reimbursement
For sign language agencies and independent contractors
- Submitting a sign language claim in ProviderOne: Overview of how to submit claims and create claim templates in ProviderOne
- Adding user profiles in ProviderOne: Overview of how to add a user profile in ProviderOne for sign language interpreters
- Quick reference desk aid for creating a claim template in ProviderOne
- Desk aid for processing sign language interpreter requests
- Process flow for requesting sign language interpreter requests
- Sign language denied claims desk aid
- Sign language contractors claiming guide tips
- Prior authorization for sign language request | Instructional video
The fulfillment rates of sign language (SL) interpreter services covering appointments for the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Medicaid population within Washington have historically been insufficient to meet the needs of the population. HCA interpreter services SL stakeholders have consistently asked HCA to consider contracting with SL agencies to provide SL services to Apple Health clients.
In July 2019, HCA contracted with a vendor to provide both spoken and SL services. While this new vendor was able to increase SL fulfillment rates, many Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing clients were not able to secure an interpreter for their Apple Health appointments.
After receiving feedback from stakeholders at the February 25, 2019 stakeholder meeting, HCA began exploring recommendations to either:
- Work directly with SL agencies, or
- Utilize the Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH) SL agency contracts.
Working through these two options with stakeholders, HCA opted to utilize ODHH SL agency contracts beginning January 1, 2020 to fulfill Apple Health client’s requests for SL interpretation services.
ODHH currently works with the Department of Enterprise Services (DES) to reprocure their SL contracts and implement new, statewide master contracts. HCA will utilize the SL master contracts to provide SL interpreters for Apple Health clients.
Visit ODHH’s website for more information about their Sign Language Interpreter Contractors.
- Submit your request using the "Online Prior Authorization Submission" process in Provider One
- Select the Organizational Unit type: 530-PA Sign Language
- Attach a completed Interpreter Request Form for Medical Providers using Apple Health
HCA hosts a quarterly stakeholder meeting to keep the community up-to-date with program changes. From this group of stakeholders, HCA has formed a sub-workgroup that meets bimonthly and assists HCA with designing and implementing key pieces of the new process in partnership with ODHH.
Agenda and meeting materials are added as they become available. Contact email@example.com to participate in these workgroups.
Minutes and other materials
|December 16, 2019||Agenda (stakeholders - 12/16/2019)||Minutes (stakeholders - 12/16/2019)|
September 24, 2019
|Agenda (stakeholders - 09/24/2019)|
Minutes and other materials
|February 3, 2020||Agenda (sub-workgroup - 02/03/2020)||Minutes (sub-workgroup-02/03/2020)|
|December 16, 2019||Agenda (sub-workgroup - 12/16/2019)||Minutes (sub-workgroup - 12/16/2019)|
|November 5, 2019||Agenda (sub-workgroup - 11/05/2019)||Minutes (sub-workgroup - 11/05/2019)|
|September 24, 2019||Agenda (sub-workgroup - 09/24/2019)|