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Sign language interpreter contract transition

Based on active engagement with stakeholders and Sign Language (SL) interpreter agencies to identify ways to improve access to SL interpreters for Apple Health, the Health Care Authority (HCA) has implemented a new process for providing sign language interpreters. This page provides information about the contract transition project, including technical assistance and workgroup meetings.

New sign language request process—webinars and technical assistance for providers: HCA is offering Apple Health providers a variety of options to learn about the new sign language request process. 

Upcoming subworkgroup meeting—February 3 at 2 p.m.​: HCA will be providing training for sign language agencies and interpreters on how to bill HCA for payment on See details below.

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.

Providers: new sign language request process

HCA and the Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH) have created a new process for requesting sign language (SL) interpreters for Apple Health (Medicaid) enrolled clients.

What does this mean for me?

You will submit your requests using the ProviderOne portal.

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

Important: The DSHS Request for Sign Language Interpreter form (DSHS 17-123A)​ must be provided with the first two sections completed.

What if I have an urgent request and don't know how to use the new ProviderOne process?

Urgent requests can be accepted via email:

  1. Complete the first two sections of the DSHS Request for Sign Language Interpreter form (DSHS 17-123A)​.
  2. Send the form via email to HCASLinterpreterRequests@hca.wa.gov. Include the following in your email:
    1. Medical provider's name
    2. Medical provider's NPI number
    3. Medical provider's specialization (i.e. behavioral health, primary  care, cardiology, etc.)
    4. The Apple Health client's ProviderOne number

HCA will review the form and send you an email confirmation accepting the request.

Once the request has an interpreter assigned (filled), HCA will send a confirmation email with the name of the interpreter and/or interpreter agency.

Training resources

Webinars​

​​Overview webinars

This webinar offers an overview of the new sign language request process for Apple Health providers, including how to submit a request through ProviderOne.

Download and view the ​​Overview presentation.

Technical assistance (submitting prior authorizations) webinars

This webinar is for Apple Health providers with technical questions about the new process, including detailed instructions on how to submit requests through ProviderOne. 

Download and view the ​Prior Authorization Submission presentation.

Rapid response calls

These calls are available for you to provide feedback, report issues or concerns, and ask questions.

  • Friday, January 24, 2020
    11:30-11:45 a.m.
  • Friday, February 7, 2020
    11:00-11:30 a.m.
  • Friday, February 11, 2020
    9:00-9:30 a.m.
  • Friday, February 14, 2020
    9:00-9:30 a.m.

Join the rapid response calls: Dial 360-407-3811. Conference ID: #1089895.

Frequently asked questions

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.

Workgroups

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 interpreterservices@hca.wa.gov​ to participate in these workgroups. 

Stakeholder workgroup

2019

Date

Agenda

Minutes and other materials

December 16 Agenda (stakeholders - 12/16/2019) Minutes (stakeholders - 12/16/2019)

September 24

Agenda (stakeholders - 09/24/2019)

Minutes (stakeholders - 09/24/2019)

Overview of HCA temporary interpreter request process 

Sub-workgroup

2019

Date

Agenda

Minutes and other materials

December 16 Agenda (sub-workgroup - 12/16/2019) Minutes (sub-workgroup - 12/16/2019)
November 5 Agenda (sub-workgroup - 11/05/2019) Minutes (sub-workgroup - 11/05/2019)
September 24 Agenda (sub-workgroup - 09/24/2019)

Minutes (sub-workgroup - 09/24/2019)

Request for sign language interpreter form - current version: 05/2007 (DSHS 17-123a)

Request for sign language interpreter form - proposed revisions (DSHS 17-123a) 

Contact