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."


SB1160 Lien Declaration Guidelines

The Petition filed by CWCIA and 4 other interpreters challenging SB 1160’s requirement for lien claimants to check a box on a declaration forced the DIR to provide clarification in its Response Brief. Here is a summary.

Check boxes C, G or E depending on which one bests fits the lien
In its Brief, the DIR stated that our options include checking boxes “C” or “E.” Analyze the objection letters and other correspondence received to determine the most appropriate option.

Some interpreters are also checking box “G” based on the information given in the Final Statement of Reasons, specifically: DWC rule 9795.1.6 addresses payment of fees to interpreters for medical treatment.

What kind of documentation do you need?
1) A letter from an insurance company denying the claim (EORs, EOBs, etc.).
2) A simple declaration from the interpreter explaining that the insurer failed to supply an interpreter for an appointment despite being informed of the need for one.
3) A 4600 designation letter from the attorney or medical provider.
4) A simple declaration from the interpreter describing the circumstances justifying the provision of the services.
5) A simple declaration from the interpreter stating the medical provider has been paid for its services, when yours haven’t.

Remember that the declaration must be included with all new liens, served on the parties AND it must be submitted by July 1, 2017 for any liens you filed between 2013 and the January 1, 2017. Liens without a declaration and proof of service will be dismissed by operation of law and can’t be re-filed, so you have 3 weeks to get busy!



The information provided is designed to provide helpful guidance regarding the new requirement that liens be filed with declarations. It is NOT legal advice. Consult an attorney prior to using this information.

The following are the instructions straight from the brief:

When Medical Treatment is Authorized

When medical treatment and interpreting services are authorized, interpreters may, and should, file lien declarations pursuant to the “(C)” category in new subdivision (c)(1) of section 4903.05 (which specifies that the lien claimant “[h]as provided treatment authorized by the employer or claims administrator under Section 4610”). (Lab. Code, § 4903.05, subd.

When Medical Treatment is NOT Authorized

Any liens arising from circumstances in which medical treatment was not authorized, or when the medical treatment itself was authorized but the interpreting services were not (for example, if the worker received treatment through an MPN that included interpreting as an ancillary service but self-procured his or her own interpreting services), should be filed under category “(E)” above – which requires a statement that the lien claimant has “documentation that medical treatment has been neglected or unreasonably refused to the employee as provided by Section 4600.” (Lab. Code, § 4903.05, subd. (c)(1)(E).) Petitioners’ complaints about the infeasibility of this category (that they must obtain medical records and must be able to prove the “legal standard” that treatment was “unreasonably” refused) are manufactured and unwarranted. This category simply mirrors the provision in section 4600 authorizing an injured worker to self-procure medical treatment (including interpreting services) when the employer neglects or refuses to provide that treatment.

Thus, in any case in which the worker is obtaining treatment not authorized by the employer or insurer, including interpreting services, the interpreter would need to know the basic circumstances establishing that the self-procured medical treatment (or interpreting) is permissible, i.e., that the employer has neglected or refused to provide the treatment.
Notwithstanding Petitioners’ arguments, this is not a burdensome requirement. It is not a complicated legal standard, it need not be based on medical records of any kind, and it need not be based on any specific form of documentation. A simple letter from the insurance company denying the claim, demonstrating why the worker is self-procuring care, would suffice under section 4600 and the new provisions of section 4903.05. Alternatively, a simple declaration from the interpreter describing the circumstances justifying the provision of the services (e.g., that the insurer failed to supply an interpreter for an appointment despite being informed of the need for one) would also be sufficient. And again, as discussed in the preceding section, existing law already required lien claimants to have proper documentation and to file appropriate declarations supporting their lien claims. This certainly would include a basic record of when treatment was authorized or denied, or when the employer or insurer neglected or refused to provide necessary
interpreting services.