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.

Want to know what's happening with interpreter services?

Sign up for email notifications

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 the Division of Children, Youth, and Families (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. 

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.

What happens if there are no sign language interpreters through Universal?

Universal currently has ASL interpreters who are located in, or willing to travel to, each region of the state. However, there may be circumstances (for instance, due to competing demand) where an interpreter is not available.  Accordingly, HCA has set up the following process for receiving information about the fulfillment of ASL interpreter requests and alternatives when no interpreter is available:

  • When you request a job you will have the option to select (yes or no) that you wish to receive notification that Universal has not filled your job yet (job status);
  • If you select “yes,” you will receive notices 24 hours after job is created, 72 hours after job is created, 14 days before the scheduled start time, 3 days before the scheduled start time, and 10 hours before the scheduled start time regarding the status of your request;
  • If an ASL interpreter is not available through Universal at any time after you submit your request, you can procure an interpreter through a private agency and receive reimbursement from HCA up to the approved ODHH contract rate.  If a private contracted sign language interpreter is not established on the ODHH website, the maximum allowable payment is fifty-five dollars ($55) per hour.

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.

Please note: If you subscribe to our RSS feed and use the Chrome browser, you will need to install the RSS feed extension for Chrome.