Category Archives: Advocacy

News

OSTI: Supporting All, Including a Vietnamese Interpreter in Eugene

By Bradley Owen

My name is Bradley Owen and I am a new interpreter working in the Eugene/Springfield sister-city area in the lower Willamette Valley.  I moved to this beautiful multicultural community from the East Coast in 2014. I’ve been doing Vietnamese medical interpreting here for about a year, and on a voluntary basis for the last nine years in Vermont and Oklahoma.

After breaking into the professional interpreting field in 2015, I was introduced to OSTI after reaching out to the Oregon Healthcare Interpreter Association (OHCIA) for advice on how to launch as a full-time professional. Then, several members of OSTI, including the President, were kind enough to visit my home for an informational interview a few weeks later in the fall of 2015.

Beginning with our first meeting that evening in September 2015, OSTI has been my main source of information that I trust and rely on for my interpreting work in Oregon. OSTI members form a large professional network throughout the state of Oregon and neighboring states, and they have even helped me make professional connections in other states far and wide around the Pacific Northwest. OSTI is a professional network resource utilized by nationally certified court and medical interpreters, ATA-certified translators, and other professionals who have decades of experience at the leading edge of the industry.

But more importantly, OSTI is a group of professionals seeking to scale up the impact of the work we do for our stakeholders. OSTI works to raise professional standards for the industry, help interpreters and translators be in a position to negotiate appropriate compensation, and provide education and training as well. Without the support of OSTI, I would have had a very hard time climbing the ladder in this extremely dynamic and diverse profession.

Bradley Owen, Vietnamese Interpreter

Bradley Owen, Vietnamese Interpreter

 

 

News

News flash! Court interpreting raise!

OSTI thanks the Oregon Courts for a rate increase for Court Interpreters!

Kelly Mills, Program Manager for Court Language Access Services (CLAS), recently announced that, “Based on the State of Oregon Economic and Revenue Forecast (released on June 3, 2016), OJD court interpreters holding OJD Certification or OJD Registered credentials will receive an hourly rate increase of $3.50 per hour on January 1, 2017.”

Click here to see the letter sent by CLAS to Court Interpreters on June 13, 2016.

On June 23, Kelly Mills followed up with this clarification:
“Because there were no increases in 2014, 2015, or 2016, the $3.50 dollar amount is based on the application of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) during those years. The implementation date is based on the state budget cycle and economic forecast. The OJD is committed to periodically reviewing rates and making regular adjustments based upon inflation, market competitiveness, and availability of state funds and resources.

OSTI thanks CLAS for acting on this issue in a timely fashion. Our first OSTI blog post, on July 13, 2013, was about the last rate increase, which had been the first one since 1995. We appreciate this commitment to a periodic review of rates paid to court interpreters. This commitment supports the sustainability of court interpreting as a profession.

News

Federal regulations for translation and interpreting in medical settings

Below please find the new federal regulations for interpreting and translation services in health programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Through agencies such as the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS provides federal financial to health programs and activities of local governments, state governments, and the private sector. An entity may receive federal financial assistance from more than one component in the department. For instance, federally qualified health centers receive federal financial assistance from CMS by participating in the Medicare or Medicaid programs and also receive federal financial assistance from HRSA through grant awards.

US HHS rule on Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). On September 8, 2015 US HHS posted the proposed rule online and opened it for public comments. The comment period closed on November 9, 2015. On May 13, 2016, the HHS Office for Civil Rights issued the final rule implementing of Section 1557. There were 2,166 comments received by US HHS. Comments can be found at this link.

The following language organizations submitted their comments:
• National Association for the Deaf (NAD) 11/17/2015 HHS-OCR-2015-0006-1824
• National Language Access Advocates Network (N-LAAN) 11/17/2015 HHS-OCR-2015-0006-1834
• National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC) 11/13/2015 HHS-OCR-2015-0006-1008
• Washington State Coalition for Language Access (WSCLA) 11/17/2015 HHS-OCR-2015-0006-1561
• Language World Services, Inc. 10/30/2015 HHS-OCR-2015-0006-0254

Full text of the rule:
https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/05/18/2016-11458/nondiscrimination-in-health-programs-and-activities#sec-92-201%20

Code of Federal Regulations TITLE 45 PUBLIC WELFARE
Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities
A Rule by the US Health and Human Services Department (HHS) published on May 18, 2016

Highlights of the rule applicable to language access in translation and interpreting for healthcare:

This final rule clarifies and codifies existing nondiscrimination requirements and sets forth new standards to implement Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in health programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS or the Department) and entities established under Title I of the ACA.

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News

Workers Compensation Rules Review

Recently, OSTI President Helen Eby met with the Workers Compensation Rules Committee and submitted an Interpreter Rules Clean proposal because the Compensation rules lack minimum requirements for interpreters. Under the current rules, any neighbor or friend can interpret.
2015 11 23 Workers Compensation Interpreting Rules Clean

During the meeting on November 23, she recommended that interpreters be certified or qualified by the standards of the Oregon Health Authority or the Oregon Courts.

In addition to the input regarding qualifications, she recommended making payment practices more flexible because of complaints that not all interpreting appointments scheduled under Workers Compensation were actually being paid. Since interpreters are not responsible for determining whether an appointment qualifies for Workers Compensation or not, she felt changes needed to be made.
She also proposed that a clarification be made as to when the quarter hours start, and make it easier for interpreters to understand and be compatible with other areas in which they practice.
During the discussion, the issue of interpreters not being able to answer questions about their appointments came up. Some of the stakeholders were not aware that professional interpreters follow a code of ethics. Helen Eby, OSTI President, submitted a comparison of the codes of ethics followed by professional interpreters in Oregon.
Interpreting Codes of Ethics that Apply in Oregon

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News

Hearing for new rules for healthcare interpreting

On March 15, 2016, OHA sent the following email out, which we reproduce, with attachments, with their permission:

Dear HB2419 RAC and Interested Parties,

Please see the attached Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Hearing for the HB2419 Rules.

The Public Hearing will take place on Thursday, April 20, 2016 at the OHA Transformation Center, 421 SW Oak, Suite 775, Portland, OR 97204.

All written public comments should be submitted to:
Keely L. West, J.D.
Policy, Records, Rules and
Internal Litigation Coordinator
Fiscal and Operations Division
500 Summer St. NE, E-20
Salem, OR 97302
keely.l.west@state.or.us
503-945-6292

Best regards,
Carol Cheney
Equity and Policy Manager
Office of Equity and Inclusion

3.15 Rules For Notice
333-2016315Notice

When the announcement is posted online, we will post that link on this blog post.

News

Translator and Interpreter Descriptions

In an effort to raise the public’s awareness of the role of translators, interpreters, transcriber-translators and terminologists, a group of leading professionals convened to draft an outreach document describing who we are, what we do, and how we do it.

For eight months, OSTI President Helen Eby and National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) Chair Esther Navarro-Hall led this team of colleagues from start to finish, gathering comments to draft a consensus document that could be endorsed by national professional associations. The purpose of this document is to advocate for the profession by educating third parties about the role of professional interpreters and translators. This will result in an improvement of the public image of interpreters and translators as well as a demand for higher standards and quality from those using language access services.

Please distribute this document as you see fit.

What Translators and Interpreters Do

This document is also published on the NAJIT website.

Click here to see NAJIT’s blog post about this document.

News

Interpreters and Translators: Worker Misclassification

OSTI attendees at January 27 event

On February 27, 2016, Trevor Leahy, from the Oregon Employment Department, gave a presentation titled “Worker Misclassification” to 45 attendees during a free event sponsored by OSTI in Beaverton.
2016 Employee Misclassification – OSTI

Those present were surprised to hear from Mr. Leahy that Oregon Statute ORS 657.048 states: “Employment does not include services performed by language translators and interpreters that are provided for others through an agent or broker.”

The presentation kept the audience engaged and asking many questions. We want to thank Mr. Leahy and the volunteers who helped make this event a success: Svetlana Ruth, Mika Jarmusz, Monica Goebel, and our photographer Jaime Placeres. After the presentation, attendees said it was a great presentation. Non-OSTI members expressed how grateful they were to have been given the opportunity to attend the event.

Additional research by OSTI, based on further conversations with Mr. Leahy and on the following links to the Oregon laws related to this topic, may help interpreters and translators understand their employment status within the state more clearly. We also include the handouts Mr. Leahy brought to the session.

Employee or Independent Contractor?
State Agency Criteria for Independent Contractors
Independent Contractor Statute
Recap Slide

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News

Health Care Interpreter Rules Advisory Committee

The review of the Rules that regulate that Health Care Interpreter law is open.

The Oregon Health Authority is seeking input through the Rules Advisory Committee. OSTI has representatives on this Committee.

The following file outlines changes recommended by OSTI based on the current law, the current implementations of the Rules by the Oregon Health Authority, and other updated knowledge. These regulations were written in 2001, when some of this information was not as complete as it is now, so it is in need of updating. Continue reading