Programs & services

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Interpreter services (providers)

Providers are required to ensure spoken and sign language access according to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Health Care Authority's (HCA) interpreter services (IS) supports you in your efforts by offering spoken and sign interpreter services for Apple Health (Medicaid) health care appointments. For language access or ADA questions or to file a complaint, visit our nondiscrimination webpage.

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Overview of interpreter services (IS)

Interpreter services (IS) are available through the Health Care Authority (HCA) for Medicaid health care professionals to gain access to skilled and qualified spoken and sign language interpreters for Apple Health (Medicaid) clients who require access to quality, efficient language during their health care services.

Program eligibility requirements

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

  • The client is an eligible Apple Health client.
  • Services are covered under the client's benefit package.
  • The health care provider is an enrolled HCA Medicaid provider.

Services not covered

HCA will not pay for interpreter services when the interpreter is a member of the family or for:

  • Inpatient hospital services

  • Nursing facility services

  • Administrative services

  • Answering or responding to general phone inquiries

  • Scheduling appointments

  • Reminder calls

  • Filing while in the office setting

  • Copying

  • Cleaning

  • Other miscellaneous office tasks

Temporary changes for spoken language during COVID-19

During the state of emergency HCA will continue to offer over-the-phone (OPI) interpreters through Universal Language. Video remote interpreting (VRI) is not available through HCA's contract with Universal Language. Providers can use their own video-based technology and in-person interpreters can participate remotely. 

Spoken language access providers (LAP)

Spoken language access providers (LAP) are provided through the HCA's spoken language contractor and are required to be certified, authorized or recognized by Department of Social and Health Services Language Testing and Certification (DSHS-LTC) and provide services within the scope of practice as defined by the interpreter Code of Professional Conduct. Providers may not ask them to perform nonlanguage related tasks.

Sign language interpreters

Sign language interpreters are provided by master contracts through the Department of Enterprise Services (DES). The Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH) oversees the master contracts and partners with HCA to improve access to Sign Language (SL) interpreters for Apple Health-enrolled clients.

Resources

Contact

For any questions regarding interpreter services or the content on this page:

Email: interpretersvcs@hca.wa.gov