The IMIA has been doing advocacy at a national level since its inception but is now documenting its work for the benefit of our membership. We are happy to report our recommendations regarding the National Health Care Reform bills that are in place as of the summer of 2009.
Please help support this by faxing the support letter that is attached above to congress.
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The United States House of Representatives home page:
Key Provisions Which Should Be Included in Health Care Reform Legislation
Medicare reimbursement of credentialed medical interpreters
Medicare reimbursement of credentialed medical interpreters will ensure that LEP senior population will have access to the quality health care they deserve and are already entitled to under Title VI, Executive Order 13166, and the CLAS mandate. We recommend that any studies or demonstration project related to the reimbursement of medical interpreters focus on language services provided by credentialed medical interpreters for more objective and cost-effective results. The Medicare reimbursement of only credentialed medical interpreters is a substantial cost savings measure to ensure that medical interpreters meet a minimum national standard of training/testing to further prevent adverse events such as medical errors due to unqualified interpretation. While the need for reimbursement is critical now, credentialed medical interpreters can be phased-in.
Not limiting language to any particular organization
It isn’t necessary for the legislation to stipulate a specific credential, training or certification program. Therefore, our proposal leaves it up to the Administration to determine the type or scope of credential necessary. Likewise, it is important that the language referring to medical interpreter standards of practice or codes of ethics be broadened to include ‘published standards of practice and codes of ethics accepted by professional trade associations’ as opposed to limiting it to one particular organization’s code of standard and ethics. As you know, the IMIA supports all published standards of practice in the field.
Medicaid reimbursement for language services
Additionally, we are pleased that the Senate Committee on Finance included language in their policy proposal to extend the 75 percent matching rate for translation services to all Medicaid beneficiaries for whom English is not the primary language. We would like the final version of the legislation to expand upon this important provision by increasing the federal matching rate and including credentialed medical interpreting services among the list of mandated vs. optional Medicaid services for LEP patients to ensure that more Medicaid beneficiaries would receive this critical health service.
Care language versus Primary Language
It is important that data collection and measurement related to interpreting or translation services be of the language that the patient wants to receive medical care in (ie: “care language”) as opposed to their “primary” language, as currently stated in health care reform legislation, which refers to language spoken at home. Data collection and measurement of primary language is not indicative of language needs, and this small change would engender substantial cost savings.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), and Language Access
© 2013, International Medical Interpreters Association
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