One in four children in the US is a first or second-generation immigrant, and a majority of immigrant children have at least one parent with Limited English Proficiency (LEP.) Federal law requires health care providers to offer and provide interpreter services at no cost to patients with LEP. Unfortunately, many times providers do not meet this requirement and rely on ad hoc interpreters such as family members or untrained staff, exposing children to increased risk for errors or misunderstandings, and/or placing a child in a difficult emotional position to serve as an interpreter. Through Apple Health for Kids, interpretation is available.
The Health Care Authority (HCA) program provides easy access to interpreters for Medicaid eligible outpatient appointments through an on-line scheduling portal. It is free of charge to the patient and provider. HCA for pays interpreter services as long as the following criteria are met:
- Patient is an eligible Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) client.
- Services are eligible for Medicaid medical benefit. Inpatient and nursing facility services are not covered.
- The health care provider must be an HCA-enrolled provider.
- Interpreter services must be provided by the HCA interpreter contractor – Universal Language Services.
Requesting Interpreters: Once you’ve signed up with the HCA interpreter contractor Universal Language Services, you can use their secure, HIPAA-compliant portal to request interpreters and check them in and out.
Seattle Children’s has been using the HCA’s online system for the past 5 years, and would be happy to assist you with any questions you may have with this process. Feel free to contact Kelly Martin at (206) 987-2467 with any questions.