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Sign language interpreters

As an Apple Health provider, you are required to ensure language access services are provided to your Apple Health clients 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 sign language interpreter services for Apple Health (Medicaid) health care appointments.

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

Share your thoughts. Join our stakeholder feedback meeting, December 14 from 9 a.m. to noon on Zoom.

Register today

Overview

HCA offers sign language interpreters to various health care appointments for eligible Apple Health clients and HCA Medicaid enrolled health care providers. For quick reference of who we are and what we offer download our information sheet.

In 2020, HCA switched from using a single coordinating entity for all sign language interpreter requests to using the dedicate design language contracts managed by the Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH). In spring of 2020, the Department of Enterprise Services (DES) and ODHH entered into a cooperative purchase agreement to provide statewide sign language interpreter services through master contracts available to all state agencies.

Two types of 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.

Two ways to request

If you have questions about the master contracts or the request process, please visit the ODHH website or contact them at:

ODHH contact

Phone

Email

SLICR program manager

1-360-339-4559

berle.ross@dshs.wa.gov

Program support specialist

1-360-338-6042

daniel.wharton@dshs.wa.gov

Provider responsibility

As an Apple Health provider, you are required to provide language access services to any Apple Health Medicaid client that:

  • Is Deaf, DeafBlind, or Hard of Hearing
  • Has a ProviderOne services card

Are you an Apple Health client? Your health care provider is required to provide spoken and sign language access. For information on how to request, see the Interpreter services (clients) webpage.

Resources

How do I know if I am eligible for this program?

  • You are eligible if you are an HCA-enrolled Apple Health Medicaid health care provider who serves eligible Apple Health (Medicaid)-enrolled clients.

How do I know if my patient is eligible?

  • They must be an Apple Health (Medicaid)-enrolled client.
  • Services must be covered under the clients' benefit service plan.
  • They require language assistance during a health care appointment.

How do I find sign language interpreters?

  • ODHH provides a list of sign language contractors and their contact information on the ODHH website. You can also view the list by county.

How do I request a sign language interpreter?

  • Submit requests through the ODHH online request form. You will need to complete a one-time account registration. Requests can be directed to preferred sign language contractors.

Are virtual interpreters available?

  • Yes! The master contracts permit local sign language interpreters to provide interpretation 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:
    • Providing the virtual platform that will be used.
    • Providing the link to the appointment for the interpreter to join.
    • Providing technical assistance to the interpreter in accessing and utilizing your video platform.
    • Ensuring that the platform and the appointment meet all HIPAA requirements.

Are interpreters available for DeafBlind clients?

Yes, 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, visit the DSHS Sign Language Interpreters webpage.

What is the deaf choice Qualified Sign Language Interpreter Request form?

The deaf choice Qualified Sign Language Interpreter Request form helps clients explain their communication needs and helps sign language contractors find the best communication match. Use this form when your clients need a sign language interpreter. When you request an interpreter, provide the completed form to the sign language contractor.

How do I know if I can get reimbursement for my sign language expenses?

HCA will only provide reimbursement for requests that are submitted through ProviderOne with a prior authorization (PA) reference number and are for:

  • Apple Health Medicaid clients.
  • An eligible health care service.
  • A Medicaid-enrolled provider.
  • Services provided within the last 90 days.

How much will I get reimbursed?

HCA will only provide reimbursement for requests that are submitted through ProviderOne with a prior authorization (PA) number and are for:

  • Apple Health (Medicaid) client
  • An eligible health care service
  • An enrolled Medicaid provider
  • Services were provided with the last 90 days.

Hourly interpreter rates are reimbursed at the full rate posted on the ODHH interpreter webpage, or a maximum of $55 per hour. You must provide proof of payment for reimbursement. You may also be eligible for reimbursement of mileage, travel time, parking, ferry, and toll expenses. You must submit paid receipts for travel expenses and must be included on the ProviderOne claim.

How do I get reimbursed?

You must submit your sign language interpreter requests through the online ODHH sign language request form and obtain an ODHH service request number. If no interpreter has been assigned and you choose to cancel the request and seek reimbursement, you must:

  • Email the ODHH sign language contractor who you submitted the request to and include:
    • ODHH service request number you are canceling.
    • Reason for the cancellation.
  • Pay for your own interpreter and receive proof of payment (receipt or invoice) and:
    • Send a secure email to HCA interpreter services including:
      • Proof of payment and the canceled service request number on the payment invoice.
      • Proof of payment for paid mileage, travel time, parking, ferry, and toll fees.

HCA will review and approve or deny the request for reimbursement and provide you with a prior authorization number.

Submit your sign language reimbursement request in ProviderOne claim using the approved ODHH SR reference number and prior authorization number.

Is their a timeline for submitting requests for reimbursement?

To ensure timely processing you must submit your claim for reimbursement no later than 90 days from the date of the appointment. Claims submitted after the 90 days will be denied. If you experience difficulties in submitting your claim contract HCA interpreter services.

Can I be reimbursed for a client no-show?

No, HCA can only reimburse for completed services.

Can I be reimbursed for a remote or video relay interpreting visit?

All services allowed through the ODHH/DES master contract may be eligible for reimbursement.

How do I cancel a request I submitted through ProviderOne?

If you need to cancel a request so that you can request reimbursement, you must send a secure email to the ODHH contractor you submitted the sign language request to, including:

  • ODHH service request number you are canceling.
  • Reason for the cancellation.

How do I register as a sign language contractor?

For information on how to register as a sign language contractor, see the ODHH master contract webpage.

Who gives me jobs?

Apple health providers enter requests through the ODHH online form. Providers and clients can identify their preferred contractor and interpreter through the ODHH online form. Apple Health clients can fill out the deaf choice form and share with their health care providers.

How do I get paid?

To receive payment, you will have to submit a claim in ProviderOne. The ProviderOne system will require the client's information as well as specific information about the job. Claims that are submitted successfully by 5 p.m. on Tuesdays are paid that Friday. You must have an approved prior authorization reference number in order to receive payment.

How do I submit my claims for payment?

ODHH approved contractors have access to the ProviderOne system. ProviderOne is the payment system for all Apple Health claims. See the contractor step-by-step guide on how to submit a sign language claim. If you have further questions, please refer to the ProviderOne Billing and Resource Guide.

What is a prior authorization?

To ensure HCA will reimburse a contractor, client eligibility must be verified prior to services being rendered. To verify client eligibility, a contractor must enter a prior authorization in ProviderOne. HCA will review and approve or deny the request. Only requests that are approved will be paid by HCA.

How do I setup an account in ProviderOne

Once you are a fully recognized contractor through the DES/ODHH master contract you will need to contact HCA Provider Enrollment. They will assist you in setting up an account with HCA. Once completed you will be eligible to accept Apple Health interpreting jobs.

If you would like to provide feedback about HCA’s sign language interpreter services program, join our upcoming stakeholder feedback meeting.

  • Date: December 14, 2021
  • Time: 9 a.m. to noon
  • Location: virtual, via Zoom

How do I register?

Complete the registration survey.

 

Sign language interpreter request data reports

American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter requests by client Accountable Community of Health (AHC)