News

DWC Posts Proposed Interpreter Fee Schedule Regulations to Online Forum for Public Comment

The following DWC Newsline was released on 4/2/2018:

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Newsline No.: 2018-27                                                      Date: April 2, 2018

 

DWC Posts Proposed Interpreter Fee Schedule Regulations to Online Forum for Public Comment

 

The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) has posted proposed interpreter fee schedule regulations to its online forum where members of the public may review and comment on the proposals. The draft regulations include:

 

  • An objective, uniform fee structure based on the federal court system. Higher rates are paid for certified interpreters over provisionally certified, to encourage use of certified interpreters. 
  • Reduction in double billing fees for multiple interpretations during the same time slot.
  • Detailed invoice information and billing codes. The independent bill review procedure will be required to quickly resolve disputes over bill amounts.
  • An emphasis on the use of qualified interpreters. Specific documentation of efforts to obtain a certified interpreter is required to ensure that the injured worker is provided with a qualified interpreter.
  • Requirements clarifying the selection and arrangement of interpreters.
  • New credentialing identification requirements.

 

The organizations approved to certify interpreters remains unchanged from the current regulations. For hearings and depositions, an interpreter must be listed as a certified interpreter on either the State Personnel Board or California Courts websites. For medical treatment or medical-legal evaluations, the interpreter must be either certified for hearings and depositions, certified as a medical interpreter by the California Department of Human Resources, or has a current certification or credential in specific languages by either the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters or the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters.

 

The forum can be found on the DWC forums web page under “current forums.” Comments will be accepted on the forum until 5 p.m. on Friday, April 13, 2018.

 

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The California Department of Industrial Relations, established in 1927, protects and improves the health, safety, and economic well-being of over 18 million wage earners, and helps their employers comply with state labor laws. DIR is housed within the Labor & Workforce Development Agency. For general inquiries, contact DIR’s Communications Call Center at 1-844-LABOR-DIR (1-844-522-6734) for help in locating the appropriate division or program in our department.

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."