​​Medical Interpretation Services

Assembly Bill 635

Assembly Bill (AB) 635 (Atkins, Chapter 600, Statutes of 2016) added California Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 14146 requiring the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to work with stakeholders to conduct a study to identify current requirements for medical interpretation services as well as education, training, and licensure requirements, analyze other state Medicaid programs, and make recommendations on strategies, including possible pilot projects, that may be employed regarding the provision of medical interpretation services for Medi-Cal beneficiaries who are limited English proficient (LEP), in compliance with applicable state and federal requirements. Based upon the recommendations of the study related to pilot projects and contingent upon available time and funding, AB 635 also requires DHCS to work with stakeholders to establish a pilot project in up to four separate sites to evaluate a mechanism to provide and improve medical interpretation services for LEP Medi-Cal beneficiaries.

Senate Bill 165

Senate Bill (SB) 165 (Atkins, Chapter 365, Statutes of 2019) amended California Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 14146 and 14146.5 to require DHCS to work with stakeholders to establish a pilot program to include up to four separate sites to evaluate the provision of medical interpretation services for LEP Medi-Cal beneficiaries enrolled in Medi-Cal managed care plans and in fee-for-service Medi-Cal. This pilot program will be based on the recommendations from the study and granted the Department additional time and funding, contingent upon the sunset clause. SB 165 also requires DHCS to evaluate whether disparities in care are reduced, with respect to LEP Medi-Cal beneficiaries compared with Medi-Cal beneficiaries who are proficient in English, whether the Medi-Cal managed care plans identify improvements in quality of care and the utilization of medical interpreters by providers and Medi-Cal managed care plans.  

Effective Date and Sunset Clause

Effective January 1, 2017, the activities authorized under WIC Code Section 14146 were authorized to commence. SB 165 enables these activities to continue until the statute's sunset date, July 1, 2024, at which point the statute shall become inoperative and as of January 1, 2025, is repealed.

Survey Results

Survey results from the AB 635 project were used for the study report, anticipated for release in early spring of 2020. 
For questions about AB 635, the study, and/or the survey, please email DHCSAB635Med@dhcs.ca.gov.

Prior Announcements  

The survey for AB 635 is closed. Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to the survey.
 
As part of DHCS' ongoing implementation activities, DHCS sent a survey to providers, counties, and health insurers to assess the planning, execution, and funding mechanisms for medical interpreting services to determine the best path forward.
 
As part of DHCS' ongoing AB 635 implementation activities, DHCS held an in-person meeting on March 22, 2019. The meeting was to inform the stakeholder community about DHCS' implementation efforts related to the Medical Interpretation Services (MIS) study authorized by AB 635. For a detailed description of the meeting, including the PowerPoint and Minutes, please refer to our Stakeholder Engagement website.
 
On March 22, 2019, the California Department of Health Care Services, Benefits Division, held an in-person stakeholder meeting to inform the stakeholder community about implementation efforts related to the Medical Interpretation Services (MIS) study authorized by AB 635.
 
On January 18, 2019, the California Department of Health Care Services, Office of Medi-Cal Procurement, finalized the Medical Interpretation Services Study Contract with Nimdzi Insights LLC.

 On September 9, 2019, the draft Study was submitted to DHCS from the contractor, Nimdzi Insights LLC, DHCS anticipates releasing the study in early spring 2020.

In early 2020, DHCS will begin stakeholder engagement to discuss the Medical Interpreters Pilot Project, mandated by SB 165.

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Last modified date: 1/15/2020 9:40 AM