Programs & services

Interpreter services

Providers are required to ensure spoken language and American Sign Language (ASL) access according to Title VI of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Our Interpreter Service Program supports you in this effort by offering interpreter services for Medicaid covered and Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) social service appointments. 

Note: For language access or ADA questions or to file a complaint, visit our nondiscrimination webpage.

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Program changes effective July 1, 2018

The Health Care Authority (HCA) has selected Universal Language Service as the new contractor to provide in-person language access services. 

Monday, June 18, Language Link canceled all requests for interpreters for date of service July 1, 2018 and later. These appointments will be transferred to Universal for processing.

As a Healthcare or Social Service Provider, you must register as a requester with Universal to have the July appointments transferred. 

As an Interpreter, if you were not registered or you did not complete your required documentation by June 22, you will not be assigned to the transferred jobs .

New requests for July 1 and after

All new requests (July 1 and after) for interpreter services must be requested through Universal. Requests are made online through a web-based platform and requesters will be notified with their login information.

Interpreters: Getting ready to accept HCA jobs through Universal 

You must register as a new interpreter/translator with Universal to continue receiving jobs for Medicaid medical and DSHS and DCYF social service appointments. 

Note: Your registration will not be automatic and your documentation will not be transferred from Language Link to Universal.  Interpreters must register with Universal and submit all required documents according to the HCA Contract requirements. Once registered you can view your portal to determine compliance or what documents may still be required.

Providers: Getting ready to request Interpreters through Universal

You must register as a new requester with Universal in order for HCA to pay for interpreters for your clients attending Medicaid or DSHS/DCYF social service appointments.  Universal will send all requesters an email notification with their login credentials. 

Note: You will need to identify which staff need access. They will all require new, unique login information. 

We will update this page with information about the new contractor. Please check back often. For ongoing updates, please sign up for email notifications.

Providers

As a provider, you are required to provide interpretive services to any client that:

  • Experiences trouble speaking or understanding English.
  • Is deaf, deaf-blind, or hard of hearing.
  • Has a ProviderOne services card.

In-person interpreting

In-person interpreting is most appropriate for complex, sensitive and life-threatening situations.

  • Sharing bad news / worsening health conditions.
  • Family conferences.
  • Speech therapy / neuropsychologic testing.
  • Conscious sedation procedures.
  • Hands-on teaching or demonstrations.
  • Delicate or complex cultural brokering.
  • Medically necessary for specific interpreter request.

Family member appointment

When the authorized requester schedules two (2) or more consecutive appointments to see multiple family members.

Block time appointment

When the Department of Social and Health Service (DSHS) schedule an on-site appointment at a DSHS Economic Services Administration Office (ESA). These appointments are for a specific amount of time rather than for a specific patient or client.

Services

In order for HCA to pay for interpreter services, the following criteria must be met:

  • The client is an eligible Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) client.
  • Services are an eligible Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) medical benefit.
  • The health care provider must be an HCA enrolled provider.
  • The request must be made by a DSHS or DCYF staff.
  • Services are authorized and provided under the HCA contractor.

HCA will NOT pay for interpreter services when:

  • The interpreter is a member of the family.
  • Inpatient hospital services.
  • Nursing facility services.
  • Administrative services:
    • Answering or responding to general phone inquiries.
    • Scheduling appointments.
    • Making reminder calls.
    • Filing.
    • Copying.
    • Cleaning.
    • Miscellaneous tasks.

Interpreters provided through HCA's contractor are required to provide services within the scope of practice as defined by the Interpreter Code of Ethics. Providers may not ask them to perform non language related tasks.

Interpreters

In order to be eligible as a Medical or social service interpreter you must be DSHS certified, authorized, or a recognized interpreter. For spoken language, DSHS Language Testing and Certification is the certifying authority. For ASL, the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) is the certifying authority.

Once you have completed the certification, authorization, or recognized process contact Universal Language Service at interpreter@ulsonline.net to register to accept medical and social services appointments.

Resources

Program updates

Interpreter services sends updates via our email communications tool, GovDelivery.

Past notifications are available to view through our RSS feed.

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