This fall, the Department of Labor and Industries (DLI) will launch a new spoken language interpreter scheduling system. After a competitive process, interpretingWorks was selected to implement and administer this new system (reference RFP #4253). The goal is to comply with a new law (RCW 39.26.300) to improve meaningful access to spoken language interpreter services.
Online Platform: Optimized for Mobile Devices and PCs
With the new system, health care providers and vocational counselors will arrange for interpreters through an online scheduling system. It is optimized for mobile and PC access through any internet browser and provides built-in quality assurance and reporting for the program. Overall, this makes it easier to do business with DLI when requesting interpreters. The new system also implements quality measures that help ensure consistent adherence to the Washington State interpreter Code of Ethics (WAC 388-03-050).
For providers, it’s an easy-to-use, one-stop-shop to request interpreter services, offering seamless, electronic check-in/-out and sign-off for completed interpreting encounters.
For interpreters, it’s a real-time listing of available interpreting jobs located close by, accessible on mobile devices or a home PC. Interpreters can track job assignments, and do seamless, check-in/-out at appointment locations by scanning a QR-code. It also syncs job assignments with calendars and provides electronic invoicing for prompt payment.
DLI supports the health and safety of the state’s workforce through an array of procured services, including interpreter services. DLI provides about 17,000 spoken language interpreter encounters per month. DLI’s mission is to keep people safe and working by ensuring their access to services and care, whether or not they speak English.
For Interpreters: Sign up Now
Interpreters can sign up now through the interpretingWorks website by completing an online enrollment form. No paperwork is necessary. Once submitted, an interpretingWorks’ staff member will reach out to the interpreter to complete the enrollment process. The entire process only takes two to three business days to complete.
It’s important to note a requirement that’s NEW to the process, is that interpreters will need National Provider Identification (NPI) number. NPIs are unique, 10-digit numbers used for identifying specific providers. NPIs are widely used by medical providers nationwide.
If you need an NPI number, go to The National Provider Identifier Standard section of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) website. There is NO cost to sign up.
For Providers: Pre-enroll Now
Providers can pre-enroll now through the interpretingWorks vendor portal so their account is ready when the system is live in Fall 2020.
De-activating Interpreter Agency Accounts
To comply with the new law, all interpreter agency accounts, and interpreters doing business with DLI under those agency group accounts, will be de-activated in early 2021. Interpreters who want to continue providing services to injured workers and victims of crime may enroll with interpretingWorks or maintain an independent interpreter provider account at DLI. Agencies have one year to bill DLI for services provided prior to this cut-off date.
What Will Happen to Independent Interpreters?
There will be limited opportunities for independent interpreters to provide services for DLI appointments after the interpretingWorks roll-out. Their services are only approved for use in on-demand appointments that do not have a pre-scheduled time, such as emergency, urgent care, and walk-in appointments.
Providers have the option of using interpretingWorks, as well as Lionbridge and Language Link, DLI’s other contracted vendors. Independent interpreters may be used but only to meet on-demand needs (emergency, walk-in, etc..).
Interpreters are strongly encouraged to enroll in the interpretingWorks scheduling system by DLI.
What About the Claimant’s Needs?
We have requested additional input from DLI to clarify whether injured workers will have any say in which interpreter will be assigned to their appointments with their providers. It is not clear that an injured worker can expect to have the same interpreter at all of their appointments, let alone the interpreter of their choosing.
A lack of choice in which interpreter an injured worker chooses to work with while going through the process of medical and vocational services under a claim is significant. It is not like requesting a driver through a ride-share app, but that is how the system seems to treat it, at least at first glance.