2014 Update: Medicaid Contract with ASL Interpreters
September 2011, the WA State Health Care Authority (HCA) took control of ASL interpreting services for Deaf and DeafBlind medicaid patients. Since medicaid covered ASL interpreting services moved from the Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH) to HCA, the fill rate has plummeted.January 2014 through August 2014, there were 1,076 requests for an ASL interpreter. The HCA contract is held by CTS, a spoken language referral agency. CTS only provided an ASL interpreter for 266 of the 1,076 requests, or 24%. Under the ODHH contract, requests for interpreters remained above 95%. Deaf and DeafBlind patients on medicaid rely on ASL interpreters for effective communication access to their medical provider.
ASL interpreters contend that the HCA contract does not meet standard terms and conditions for interpreters in the state. Only 6 ASL interpreters have signed the 2014 HCA contract across the state, or 2% of certified interpreters.. This is down from 13 interpreters who signed the 2013 contract. According to Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), there are about 378 RID certified interpreters in Washington State.
Number of interpreters who have signed the HCA Medicaid contract.
“The Mission of WSAD is to promote, protect and preserve the rights and quality of life of deaf individuals in the state of Washington.”