You, the health care or vocational provider, are responsible for deciding whether an interpreter is needed, and must arrange and confirm all appointments. You are also responsible for making sure your patient/client has an accepted, open claim with L&I and that the interpreter is certified, with an active L&I provider ID.
The health care or vocational provider determine the need for interpreter services and makes all arrangements. Interpreter services are a covered benefit for all injured workers, including self-insured and crime victims, who have an open and allowed claim.
To find an interpreter, use L&I's Interpreter Lookup Service.
(Note: L&I cannot reimburse interpreters who are family or friends of the worker, or for legal purposes, such as attorney appointments, legal conferences, depositions, or testimony at the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals, or any court.)
Two options for arranging interpreter services:
Providers may directly contact an interpreter for a patient or client for urgent, emergent, or walk-in appointments. For scheduled appointments, use the Interpreter Scheduling System. There is no need for prior authorization on open and allowed claims.
In-person interpreting is most appropriate for complex, sensitive medical interpreting and life-threatening situations, for example:
- Sharing bad news.
- Worsening health conditions.
- Treating a head injury.
- Neuropsychological testing.
- Conscious sedation procedures.
- Hands-on teaching or demonstrations.
- By phone
Health care or vocational providers may use over-the-phone interpreter services for in-person contact with workers. Benefits include:
- Real-time access to over 300 languages.
- No appointment needed.
- Quick access: In most cases, a telephonic interpreter can be on the phone within 30-60 seconds.
Health care providers, both in-and out-of-state, may request interpreter services through CTS Language Link, or Lionbridge:
CTS Language Link
Medical Providers: 877-626-0678
VOC Counselors: 844-303-7212
Activity Coaches: 844-303-5430
Medical Providers: 800-444-6627
1. Enter Interpreter Services PIN: (2709-7863)
2. State your first and last name
3. Enter your claim ID number or press # to skip
4. Select language from menu or press “0” to connect to an operator
5. Connect with Lionbridge interpreter
IMPORTANT: Health care and vocational providers must:
- Arrange all interpreter services and offer them at their own locations.
- Notify interpreter needs to other providers they may refer their patient or client to.
- Take responsibility for scheduling all of their patients/clients' interpreter services.
Interpreters are responsible for following the safety policies of the facility they are working in.
(L&I does NOT maintain interpreter background checks or vaccination records.)
How to become a certified L&I interpreter
- Apply for an L&I provider ID.
- Learn more about acceptable certifications.
- Learn how to properly bill L&I for services at an L&I Billing Workshop. A billing workshop will help you:
- Save time and money and will count towards DSHS continuing education requirements.
- Get information about how to submit an Interpreter Service Appointment Record (ISAR), required for all interpreters.
- Find interpreter resources and tools for doing business with L&I.
- With one-on-one help from L&I Provider Account Representatives.
What interpreter services are NOT covered?
The following services are not reimbursable:
- Services provided on a claim that has been closed or denied, except for:
- When it is the first doctor visit, or
- A doctor's visit to file a reopening application, or
- A worker receiving a pension with a treatment order
- A missed appointment for any service, except IME appointments.
- Personal assistance on behalf of the injured worker or the provider, such as:
- Scheduling or confirming appointments
- Translating correspondence
- Making phone calls
- Translating documents requested by the client or anyone else other than L&I.
- Interpreting anything for the health care or vocational provider that doesn't relate to the injury.
- Travel time and travel related expenses, such as:
- Overhead costs, such as:
- Phone calls
- Preparation of bills
- L&I's expectations for interpreters.
- Accurately interpret everything said during the appointment, with consideration given to linguistic and cultural differences. Asking for clarification is encouraged.
- Respect the confidentiality of the client.
- Let the provider know if you have a relationship to the patient or client that could affect the objectivity of your interpretation-- or give that impression.
- Accurately and completely represent credentials, training, and experience to all parties.
- Not arrange appointments in order to create business or to fit your schedule, such as canceling or rescheduling a worker's medical appointment. The providers arrange interpreter services.
- Not provide transportation to or from health care or vocational appointments.
- Follow WAC 388-03-050, and the ethics established by the certification/authorization you have obtained.
- Comply with all requirements of the facilities you work with, such as background checks and vaccination history.
- Verify identity and comply with any other security requirement. (Note: L&I doesn't maintain this information for interpreters.)
If you are a worker with an accepted L&I claim, your health care or vocational provider is required to arrange an interpreter, if they believe it is necessary. This service is free on open and allowed claims.
- Make sure your interpreter is certified and has an L&I provider ID.
- Ask the health care or vocational provider if family or friends may attend appointments with you.
- If you need to call L&I, you may request an interpreter in any language, and one will be available within minutes.
New interpreter scheduling system coming soon
This fall, we're launching a new spoken language interpreter scheduling system. After a competitive process, interpretingWorks was selected to implement and administer this new system (reference RFP #4253). Our goal is to comply with a new law (RCW 39.26.300) to improve meaningful access to spoken language interpreter services.
Online platform: Optimized for mobile devices and PCs
With the new system, health care providers and vocational counselors will arrange for interpreters through an online scheduling system. It is optimized for mobile and PC access through any internet browser and provides built-in quality assurance and reporting for the program. Overall, this makes it easier to do business with L&I when requesting interpreters. The new system also implements quality measures that help ensure consistent adherence to the Washington State interpreter Code of Ethics (WAC 388-03-050).
For providers, it’s an easy-to-use, one-stop-shop to request interpreter services, offering seamless, electronic check-in/-out and sign-off for completed interpreting encounters.
For interpreters, it’s a real-time listing of available interpreting jobs located close by, accessible on mobile devices or a home PC. Interpreters can track job assignments, and do seamless, check-in/-out at appointment locations by scanning a QR-code. It also syncs job assignments with calendars and provides electronic invoicing for prompt payment.
L&I supports the health and safety of the state’s workforce through an array of procured services, including interpreter services. As part of its mission, L&I provides about 17,000 spoken language interpreter encounters per month. L&I’s mission is to keep people safe and working by ensuring their access to services and care, whether or not they speak English.
For interpreters: Sign up now
Interpreters can sign up now through the interpretingWorks website by completing an online enrollment form. No paperwork is necessary. Once submitted, an interpretingWorks’ staff member will reach out to the interpreter to complete the enrollment process. The entire process only takes two to three business days to complete.
It’s important to note a requirement that’s NEW to the process, is that interpreters will need National Provider Identification (NPI) number. NPIs are unique, 10-digit numbers used for identifying specific providers. NPIs are widely used by medical providers nationwide.
If you need an NPI number, go to The National Provider Identifier Standard section of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) website. There is NO cost to sign up.
For providers: Pre-enroll now
Providers can pre-enroll now through the interpretingWorks vendor portal so their account is ready when the system is live in Fall 2020.
De-activating interpreter agency accounts
To comply with the new law, all interpreter agency accounts, and interpreters doing business with L&I under those agency group accounts, will be de-activated in early 2021. Interpreters who want to continue providing services to injured workers and victims of crime may enroll with interpretingWorks or maintain an independent interpreter provider account at L&I. Agencies have one year to bill L&I for services provided prior to this cut-off date.
As we plan to implement the online scheduling system, we will keep you informed of the schedule, program changes, and education opportunities through a variety of mailings.
You can also sign up to receive updates via email. Just select “Interpreter Services at L&I” option within the “Claims & Insurance” section.