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Presentation For National Certification, Medicaid Coverage For Language Services & The Affordable Care Act

NY Decides to Reimburse Interpreters for Medicaid Patients - October 2012

Statement of Support for Medicare and Medicaid Reimbursement of Medical Interpreters in the United States of America

We, the undersigned language access advocates from across the nation, support the Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement of credentialed medical interpreters to ensure that limited English proficient (LEP) people have equitable access to quality health care through credentialed medical interpreting services.

According to an Institute for Healthcare Advancement study, $73 Billion is spent annually in unnecessary health care expenses due to the inability of patients to understand what medical providers are communicating.  Providing Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement of credentialed medical interpreters will reduce health care costs and improve quality of care by providing effective, safe communication between providers and patients, preventing adverse events such as medical errors and reducing Medicare and Medicaid expenditures on costly ER visits, unnecessary medical tests and procedures.

Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement of credentialed medical interpreters will ensure that limited English proficient people 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.

April 30, 2012
Tulsa, Oklahoma

We need as many signatures as possible to make an impact in all states.

Sign the statement of support HERE


The provision of language services in healthcare is still for the most part an unfunded mandate. Until language services are reimbursed, language minority patients will continue to rely on family members and friends to interpret, although federal and state laws require that competent language services be provided at no cost to patients.

What can each of us do to make medical interpreter reimbursement a reality?

*  Write to your Representatives and Senators
*  Write to the Presidential Candidates to make language access a priority
*  Check out the links to Latinos for Obama and other organizations

Draft letter to Congress

Help us build our network of supporters, direct these potential partners to this page on our website where they can list their organization's name as a supporter of reimbursement for medical interpreters.

We also have a list of individuals who are personally supporting the cause for reimbursement. To join click here: (link coming soon)

Send us your ideas at info@imiaweb.org on how we can make this become a reality. Together we can do it. Yes we can!

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.

The United States Senate home page:

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 


Washington DC Trips

6th Annual National Medical Interpreter Certification Open Forum in Tulsa, Oklahoma!

We need your help and want to know:  Are you coming?


April 3, 2012
 Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Gene Kim (Exec.
Director) and Krystal Ka'ai, 1520 Longworth House Office Building

2:30PM: Sarah Reinprecht and Yasmin Pagan, Senate Hispanic Caucus and
Office of Senator Menendez, 528 Hart Senate Office Building

3:30PM: Lauren Aronson, House Ways and Means Committee, 1139 Longworth
House Office Building

4:30PM: Kelly Whitener, Senate Finance Committee, 219 Dirksen Senate
Office Building

PowerPoint Presentation:

Medicaid and Schip Reimbursement Models for Language Services

>Update Report on National Advocacy for Reimbursement of Medical Interpreters 11.24.09

>February 25, 2010 Meeting Schedule

>IMIA Washington DC Trips between May and August 2010

>Summary of IMIA meetings in DC July 9th 2009

>Summary of IMIA meetings in DC June 24th and 25th 2009

>Summary of IMIA meetings in DC Feb 19th and 20th 2009

>May 1st Flyer



Additional Documents

>Draft Letter to President

>Draft Letter to Congress

>Draft Letter to Gov. Romney

>Federal Advocacy Update 2012

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