Interpreter Fee Schedule Update

Work Comp Central released an atricle on February 13, 2018 that said, " 

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation expects to soon post a proposed interpreter fee schedule to fulfill one of the last remaining mandates from Senate Bill 863. 

DWC attorney Alan Hersh, on the opening day of the division's 25th annual Educational Conference in Los Angeles, said he expects the proposed interpreter fee schedule to be posted online for public comment "within the next two weeks." The rate the division is currently considering would be "slightly higher" than what federal courts in California pay interpreters, Hersh said on Monday. 

Currently, interpreters can bill at either their regular rate or the state Superior Court rate, which Hersh said is "very low."

He said payment under rules the division is finalizing based on the federal court rate may fall somewhat below what interpreters are currently charging, but it will be significantly more than what state courts pay for language services. He said the federal courts don't appear to have any problem finding interpreters, and the division assumes that using the same rates will ensure interpreters are available for the workers' compensation system.

The division will also be placing an emphasis on the use of certified interpreters. Certified interpreters will be paid more for their services than provisionally certified interpreters, according to Hersh. And claims administrators will have to do more work to document their efforts in tracking down a certified interpreter before using someone who is "provisionally certified."

 In addition to requesting the DWC to implement an interpreter fee schedule, lawmakers in passing SB 863 also required that certified interpreters be used when available. To account for the situations where a certified interpreter is not available, or languages for which certification is not available, the bill allowed claims administrators to provisionally certify an interpreter."