Category Archives: Workers Compensation

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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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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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