Interpreter Services Newsletter

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In this issue

Resources for providers and interpreters


What sign language requests are eligible for reimbursement?

HCA will only provide reimbursement for requests that are submitted through ProviderOne, have a reference number, and are for:

  • In-person interpreters
  • Health care service covered by Apple Health
  • An eligible Apple Health client
  • An Apple Health-enrolled provider
  • Services provided within the last 90 days

For additional information, see our sign language provider reimbursement FAQ.

How do I request reimbursement for sign language appointments?

You must first email to request approval for reimbursement. Your email must include:

  • PA reference number for the appointment you are cancelling
  • Date of appointment
  • Attached copy of the paid invoice, to include:
    • Interpreter name
    • Date/time of service
    • Paid amount to identify:
      • mileage
      • parking
      • ferry
      • toll

When will I know if my sign language request has been filled?

The sign language agency will contact you directly once an interpreter has been assigned.

Remember to include your contact information on the Master Interpreter Request form.

How do I check interpreters in/out for OPI requests

You must:

  • Log into the Universal scheduling portal
  • Open the request
  • Click the "edit" button in the upper right-hand corner
  • Complete the 'Actual Start' and 'Actual End' times


How do I receive OPI requests?

In order to provide OPI services, you must update your Universal profile to include:

  • OPI phone number
  • OPI phone type

For more information, visit Universal's Interpreter HCA OPI Guides.

How do I check in for OPI requests?

Requesters will continue to check interpreters in/out online.

You must still log into the Universal scheduling portal to approve/ dispute the start and end times for each appointment.

How should I disconnect from an OPI service call?

You must wait on the line and will be automatically disconnected from the call when the requester hangs up.

What happens if I am still on a call when my next appointment is about to start?

The policy for OPI will remain the same as in-person. The interpreter should be available at the start of the next appointment.


National Standards on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS)

Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc.

Washington Department of Social and Health Services, Language Interpreter and Translator Code of Professional Conduct

Interpreter services

HCA's monthly interpreter services (IS) newsletter

Authorized requestors: The Health Care Authority (HCA) newsletter provides updates on new developments and reminders about how you can access interpreters for your Apple Health (Medicaid) clients and Social Service visits.

Spoken language interpreters: Universal Language (Universal) is available to assist you with completing the requirements to provide interpreter services for HCA, Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and the Department of Children, Youth, and Family (DCYF) appointments. Visit for more information.

Sign language interpreters: In order to provide services for HCA appointments, you must register with the Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH). For more information, visit the ODHH Sign Language Interpreters webpage.

Interpreter services during COVID-19 pandemic

Spoken languages

HCA is no longer prohibiting in-person interpreting requests, and Universal Language is no longer converting in-person requests to over-the-phone interpreting (OPI).

You are responsible for choosing OPI when scheduling an interpreter through Universal. OPI interpreters are scheduled online, the same way as in-person interpreters.

For more information, visit Universal's Requester HCA OPI Guide or Interpreter HCA OPI Guide.

Sign languages

Sign language interpreters may participate in your health care appointments, including telemedicine/telehealth appointments, using whichever remote option your office utilizes.

We will be sending additional information about this process soon through GovDelivery.

Provider updates

  • For sign language appointments, be sure to use the most recent Master Interpreter Request form when submitting your request to ensure it gets processed correctly
  • Effective June 1, 2020, a new list of referral agencies have been awarded the DES master contract

Interpreter updates

  • Spoken language interpreters may continue to participate in health care appointments via phone or video methods
  • Effective July 1, 2020, there have been a number of changes in how interpreters submit Continuing Education (CE) credits
  • Interpreters should bring their own personal protective equipment (PPE) to the appointment in the event PPE is not provided
  • Effective July 1, 2020, rates for in-person interpreting increased to $42.20 an hour
  • Effective July 1, 2020, the Incident Resolution Process (IRP) was fully reinstated

Scheduling remote interpreters

Spoken languages

In order to have a spoken language interpreter participate remotely, you must:

  • Log into the Universal scheduling portal
  • Create a new interpreter request
  • Select "Phone Pre-Scheduled" from the drop-down menu in the "Type of Service" field

Sign languages

To have a sign language interpreter participate remotely, you must:

  • Submit your request through ProviderOne Prior Authorization
  • Attach the completed Master Interpreter Request form
  • Include a note at the top or bottom of the Master Interpreter Request form stating:
    • The appointment needs to be conducted remotely
    • What program/application you will be using:
      • GoToMeeting, Zoom, Skype, etc

Once HCA processes the request, you will be contacted directly by the sign language agency or independent contractor.


Provider participation

When checking interpreters in and out of their appointments, be sure to verify the times are accurate.

Providers are required to assure language access according to Title VI of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Our Interpreter Services Program supports you in this effort by offering interpreter services for Medicaid covered appointments through our contract with Universal.

Participation in our program is voluntary. However, when using the HCA’s state-paid interpreter services, you must follow the program policies and guidelines. Additional information can be found on our HCA interpreter services webpage.

Spoken language interpreter participation

When providing OPI, remember to use a landline whenever possible. This allows for clarity and reliability that cannot be guaranteed when using a cell phone. At the time of the appointment, you are responsible for dialing or logging into the conference/video call.

For additional information, please refer to the Interpreter Guide.