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HF 2345

as introduced - 89th Legislature (2015 - 2016) Posted on 03/31/2016 04:55pm

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A bill for an act
relating to health occupations; establishing a tiered registry system for spoken
language health care interpreters; appropriating money;amending Minnesota
Statutes 2014, section 256B.0625, subdivision 18a; proposing coding for new
law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 148; repealing Minnesota Statutes 2014,
section 144.058.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

[148.9981] DEFINITIONS.

Subdivision 1.

Applicability.

The definitions in this section apply to sections
148.9981 to 148.9987.

Subd. 2.

Advisory council.

"Advisory council" means the Spoken Language Health
Care Interpreter Advisory Council established in section 148.9986.

Subd. 3.

Code of ethics.

"Code of ethics" means the National Code of Ethics for
Interpreters in Health Care, as published by the National Council on Interpreting in Health
Care or its successor, or the International Medical Interpreters Association or its successor.

Subd. 4.

Commissioner.

"Commissioner" means the commissioner of health.

Subd. 5.

Common languages.

"Common languages" mean the ten most frequent
languages without regard to dialect in Minnesota for which interpreters are listed on
the registry.

Subd. 6.

Interpreting standards of practice.

"Interpreting standards of practice"
means the interpreting standards of practice in health care as published by the National
Council on Interpreting in Health Care or its successor, or the International Medical
Interpreters Association or its successor.

Subd. 7.

Registry.

"Registry" means a database of spoken language health
care interpreters in Minnesota who have met the qualifications described under section
148.9982, subdivision 2, 3, 4, or 5, which shall be maintained by the commissioner of
health.

Subd. 8.

Remote interpretation.

"Remote interpretation" means providing spoken
language interpreting services via a telephone or by video conferencing.

Subd. 9.

Spoken language health care interpreter or interpreter.

"Spoken
language health care interpreter" or "interpreter" means an individual who receives
compensation or other remuneration for providing spoken language interpreter services for
patients with limited English proficiency within a medical setting either by face-to-face
interpretation or remote interpretation.

Subd. 10.

Spoken language interpreting services.

"Spoken language interpreting
services" means the conversion of one spoken language into another by an interpreter for
the purpose of facilitating communication between a patient and a health care provider
who do not share a common spoken language.

Sec. 2.

[148.9982] REGISTRY.

Subdivision 1.

Establishment.

(a) By July 1, 2017, the commissioner of health
shall establish and maintain a registry for spoken language health care interpreters. The
registry shall contain four separate tiers based on different qualification standards for
education, training, and experience.

(b) An individual who wants to be listed on the registry must submit an application
to the commissioner on a form provided by the commissioner along with all applicable
fees required under section 148.9987. The form must include the applicant's name; Social
Security number; business address and telephone number, or home address and telephone
number if the applicant has a home office; the applicant's employer or the agencies with
which the applicant is affiliated; the employer's or agencies' addresses and telephone
numbers; and the languages the applicant is qualified to interpret.

(c) Upon receipt of the application, the commissioner shall determine if the applicant
meets the requirements for the applicable registry tier. The commissioner may request
further information from the applicant if the information provided is not complete or
accurate. The commissioner shall notify the applicant of action taken on the application,
and if the application is denied, the grounds for denying the application.

(d) If the commissioner denies an application, the applicant may apply for a lower
tier or may reapply for the same tier at a later date. If an applicant applies for a different
tier or reapplies for the same tier, the applicant must pay the applicable fees under section
148.9987.

(e) Applicants who qualify for different tiers for different languages shall only be
required to complete one application and submit with the application the fee associated
with the highest tier for which the applicant is applying.

(f) The commissioner may request, as deemed necessary, additional information
from an applicant to determine or verify qualifications or collect information to manage
the registry or monitor the field of health care interpreting.

Subd. 2.

Tier 1 requirements.

The commissioner shall include on the tier 1 registry
an applicant who meets the following requirements:

(1) is at least 18 years of age;

(2) passes an examination approved by the commissioner on basic medical
terminology in English;

(3) passes an examination approved by the commissioner on interpreter ethics and
standards of practice; and

(4) affirms by signature, including electronic signature, that the applicant has read
the code of ethics and interpreting standards of practice identified on the registry Web
site and agrees to abide by them.

Subd. 3.

Tier 2 requirements.

The commissioner shall include on the tier 2 registry
an applicant who meets the requirements for tier 1 described under subdivision 2 and who:

(1) effective July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, provides proof of successfully
completing a training program for medical interpreters approved by the commissioner that
is, at a minimum, 40 hours in length; or

(2) effective July 1, 2018, provides proof of successfully completing a training
program for medical interpreters approved by the commissioner that is, at a minimum,
60 hours in length; or a 40-hour training program approved by the commissioner, plus
an additional 20 hours of interpreter skills training approved by the commissioner.
This training shall not be restricted to Minnesota-based programs and may have been
completed by the applicant prior to July 1, 2017.

Subd. 4.

Tier 3 requirements.

The commissioner shall include on the tier 3 registry
an applicant who meets the requirements for tier 1 described under subdivision 2 and who:

(1) has a national certification in health care interpreting that does not include
a language proficiency component from a certifying organization approved by the
commissioner; or

(2) provides proof of successfully completing an interpreting certification program
from an accredited United States academic institution approved by the commissioner
that is, at a minimum, 18 semester credits.

Subd. 5.

Tier 4 requirements.

(a) The commissioner shall include on the tier 4
registry an applicant who meets the requirements for tier 1 described under subdivision 2
and who:

(1) has a national certification from a certifying organization approved by the
commissioner in health care interpreting that includes language proficiency in a
non-English language in which the interpreter is registering to interpret; or

(2)(i) has an associate's degree or higher in interpreting from an accredited United
States academic institution. The degree and institution must be approved by the
commissioner and the degree must include a minimum of three semester credits in medical
terminology or medical interpreting; and

(ii) has achieved a score of "advanced mid" or higher on the American Council on
the Teaching of Foreign Languages Oral Proficiency Interview in a non-English language
in which the interpreter is registering to interpret.

(b) The commissioner, in consultation with the advisory council, may approve
alternative means of meeting oral proficiency requirements for tier 4 for languages
in which the American Council of Teaching of Foreign Languages Oral Proficiency
Interview is not available.

(c) The commissioner, in consultation with the advisory council, may approve a
degree from an educational institution from a foreign country as meeting the associate's
degree requirement in paragraph (a), clause (2). The commissioner may assess the
applicant a fee to cover the cost of foreign credential evaluation services approved by
the commissioner, in consultation with the advisory council, and any additional steps
necessary to process the application. Any assessed fee must be paid by the interpreter
before the interpreter will be registered.

Subd. 6.

Change of name and address.

A spoken language health care interpreter
who changes their name, address, or e-mail address must inform the commissioner in
writing of the change within 30 days. All notices or other correspondence mailed to the
interpreter's address or e-mail address on file with the commissioner shall be considered as
having been received by the interpreter.

Sec. 3.

[148.9983] RENEWAL.

Subdivision 1.

Registry period.

Listing on the registry is valid for a one-year
period. To renew inclusion on the registry, an interpreter must submit:

(1) a renewal application on a form provided by the commissioner;

(2) a continuing education report on a form provided by the commissioner as
specified under section 148.9985; and

(3) the required fees under section 148.9987.

Subd. 2.

Notice.

(a) Sixty days before the registry expiration date, the commissioner
shall send out a renewal notice to the spoken language health care interpreter's last known
address or e-mail address on file with the commissioner. The notice must include an
application for renewal and the amount of the fee required for renewal. If the interpreter
does not receive the renewal notice, the interpreter is still required to meet the deadline for
renewal to qualify for continuous inclusion on the registry.

(b) An application for renewal must be received by the commissioner or postmarked
at least 30 calendar days before the registry expiration date.

Subd. 3.

Late fee.

A renewal application submitted after the renewal deadline
date must include the late fee specified in section 148.9987. Fees for late renewal shall
not be prorated.

Subd. 4.

Lapse in renewal.

An interpreter whose registry listing has been expired
for a period of one year or longer must submit a new application to be listed on the registry
instead of a renewal application.

Sec. 4.

[148.9984] DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS; OVERSIGHT OF
COMPLAINTS.

Subdivision 1.

Prohibited conduct.

(a) The following conduct is prohibited and is
grounds for disciplinary or corrective action:

(1) failure to provide spoken language interpreting services consistent with the
code of ethics and interpreting standards of practice, or performance of the interpretation
in an incompetent or negligent manner;

(2) conviction of a crime, including a finding or verdict of guilt, an admission of
guilt, or a no-contest plea, in any court in Minnesota or any other jurisdiction in the United
States, demonstrably related to engaging in spoken language health care interpreter
services. Conviction includes a conviction for an offense which, if committed in this
state, would be deemed a felony;

(3) conviction of violating any state or federal law, rule, or regulation that directly
relates to the practice of spoken language health care interpreters;

(4) adjudication as mentally incompetent or as a person who is dangerous to self
or adjudication pursuant to chapter 253B as chemically dependent, developmentally
disabled, mentally ill and dangerous to the public, or as a sexual psychopathic personality
or sexually dangerous person;

(5) violation or failure to comply with an order issued by the commissioner;

(6) obtaining money, property, services, or business from a client through the use of
undue influence, excessive pressure, harassment, duress, deception, or fraud;

(7) revocation of the interpreter's national certification as a result of disciplinary
action brought by the national certifying body;

(8) failure to perform services with reasonable judgment, skill, or safety due to the
use of alcohol or drugs or other physical or mental impairment;

(9) engaging in conduct likely to deceive, defraud, or harm the public;

(10) demonstrating a willful or careless disregard for the health, welfare, or safety
of a client;

(11) failure to cooperate with the commissioner or advisory council in an
investigation or to provide information in response to a request from the commissioner
or advisory council; and

(12) aiding or abetting another person in violating any provision of sections
148.9981 to 148.9987.

(b) In disciplinary actions alleging a violation of paragraph (a), clause (2), (3), or
(4), a copy of the judgment or proceeding under seal of the court administrator, or of the
administrative agency that entered the same, is admissible into evidence without further
authentication and constitutes prima facie evidence of its contents.

Subd. 2.

Complaints.

The commissioner may initiate an investigation upon
receiving a complaint or other oral or written communication that alleges or implies
a violation of subdivision 1. In the receipt, investigation, and hearing of a complaint
that alleges or implies a violation of subdivision 1, the commissioner shall follow the
procedures in section 214.10.

Subd. 3.

Disciplinary actions.

If the commissioner finds that an interpreter has
violated any provision of sections 148.9981 to 148.9987, the commissioner may take
any one or more of the following actions:

(1) remove the interpreter from the registry;

(2) revoke the right to practice as an interpreter;

(3) impose limitations or conditions on the interpreter's practice, impose
rehabilitation requirements, or require practice under supervision;

(4) censure or reprimand of the interpreter; and

(5) any other action justified by the case.

Subd. 4.

Reinstatement requirements after disciplinary action.

An interpreter
who has been removed from the registry or who has had their practice suspended may
request and provide justification for reinstatement following the period of suspension
specified by the commissioner. The requirements of sections 148.9981 to 148.9987 for
registry renewal and any other conditions imposed by the commissioner must be met
before the interpreter may be listed on the registry or have the right to practice reinstated.

Sec. 5.

[148.9985] CONTINUING EDUCATION.

Subdivision 1.

Course approval.

The advisory council shall approve continuing
education courses and training. A course that has not been approved by the advisory
council may be submitted, but may be disapproved by the commissioner. If the course
is disapproved, it shall not count toward the continuing education requirement. The
interpreter must complete the following hours of continuing education during each
one-year registry period:

(1) for tier 2 interpreters, a minimum of four contact hours of continuing education;

(2) for tier 3 interpreters, a minimum of six contact hours of continuing education; and

(3) for tier 4 interpreters, a minimum of eight contact hours of continuing education.

Contact hours shall be prorated for interpreters who are assigned a registry cycle of
less than one year.

Subd. 2.

Continuing education verification.

Each spoken language health care
interpreter shall submit with a renewal application a continuing education report on a form
provided by the commissioner that indicates that the interpreter has met the continuing
education requirements of this section. The form shall include the following information:

(1) the title of the continuing education activity;

(2) a brief description of the activity;

(3) the sponsor, presenter, or author;

(4) the location and attendance dates;

(5) the number of contact hours; and

(6) the interpreter's notarized affirmation that the information is true and correct.

Subd. 3.

Audit.

The commissioner or advisory council may audit a percentage of
the continuing education reports based on a random selection.

Sec. 6.

[148.9986] SPOKEN LANGUAGE HEALTH CARE INTERPRETER
ADVISORY COUNCIL.

Subdivision 1.

Establishment.

The commissioner shall appoint ten members to a
Spoken Language Health Care Interpreter Advisory Council consisting of the following
members:

(1) three members who are interpreters listed on the roster prior to July 1, 2017, or
on the registry after July 1, 2017, and who are Minnesota residents. Of these members,
each must be an interpreter for a different language; at least one must have a national
certification credential; and at least one must have been listed on the roster prior to July 1,
2017, or on the registry after July 1, 2017, as an interpreter in a language other than the
common languages and must have completed a training program for medical interpreters
approved by the commissioner that is, at a minimum, 40 hours in length;

(2) one member representing limited English proficient (LEP) individuals;

(3) one member representing a health plan company;

(4) one member representing a Minnesota health system who is not an interpreter;

(5) one member representing an interpreter agency;

(6) one member representing an interpreter training program or postsecondary
educational institution program providing interpreter courses or skills assessment;

(7) one member who is affiliated with a Minnesota-based or Minnesota chapter of a
national or international organization representing interpreters; and

(8) one member who is a licensed direct care health provider.

Subd. 2.

Organization.

The advisory council shall be organized and administered
under section 15.059.

Subd. 3.

Duties.

The advisory council shall:

(1) advise the commissioner on issues relating to interpreting skills, ethics, and
standards of practice, including reviewing and recommending changes to the examinations
identified in section 148.9982, subdivision 2, on basic medical terminology in English
and interpreter ethics and interpreter standards of practice;

(2) advise the commissioner on recommended changes to accepted spoken language
health care interpreter qualifications, including degree and training programs and
non-English language proficiency exams;

(3) inform the commissioner on emerging issues in the spoken language health
care interpreter field;

(4) advise the commissioner on training and continuing education programs;

(5) provide for distribution of information regarding interpreter standards and
resources to help interpreters qualify for higher registry tier levels;

(6) make recommendations for necessary statutory changes to Minnesota interpreter
law;

(7) compare the annual cost of administering the registry and the annual total
collection of registration fees and advise the commissioner, if necessary, to recommend an
adjustment to the registration fees;

(8) identify barriers to meeting tier requirements and make recommendations to the
commissioner for addressing these barriers;

(9) identify and make recommendations to the commissioner for Web distribution of
patient and provider education materials on working with an interpreter and on reporting
interpreter behavior as identified in section 148.9984; and

(10) review and update as necessary the process for determining common languages.

Sec. 7.

[148.9987] FEES.

Subdivision 1.

Fees.

(a) The initial and renewal application fees for interpreters
listed on the registry is $.......

(b) The renewal late fee for the registry is $.......

(c) If the commissioner must translate a document to verify whether a foreign degree
qualifies for registration for tier 4, the commissioner may assess a fee equal to the actual
cost of translation and additional effort necessary to process the application.

Subd. 2.

Nonrefundable fees.

The fees in this section are nonrefundable.

Subd. 3.

Deposit.

Fees received under sections 148.9981 to 148.9987 shall be
deposited in the state government special revenue fund.

Sec. 8.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 256B.0625, subdivision 18a, is amended to
read:


Subd. 18a.

Access to medical services.

(a) Medical assistance reimbursement for
meals for persons traveling to receive medical care may not exceed $5.50 for breakfast,
$6.50 for lunch, or $8 for dinner.

(b) Medical assistance reimbursement for lodging for persons traveling to receive
medical care may not exceed $50 per day unless prior authorized by the local agency.

(c) Medical assistance direct mileage reimbursement to the eligible person or the
eligible person's driver may not exceed 20 cents per mile.

(d) Regardless of the number of employees that an enrolled health care provider may
have, medical assistance covers sign and oral spoken language health care interpreter
services when provided by an enrolled health care provider during the course of providing
a direct, person-to-person covered health care service to an enrolled recipient with limited
English proficiency or who has a hearing loss and uses interpreting services. Coverage
for face-to-face oral language spoken language health care interpreter services shall be
provided only if the oral spoken language health care interpreter used by the enrolled
health care provider is listed in on the registry or roster established under section 144.058
by the commissioner of health under sections 148.9981 to 148.9987.

EFFECTIVE DATE.

This section is effective July 1, 2017.

Sec. 9. STRATIFIED MEDICAL ASSISTANCE REIMBURSEMENT SYSTEM
FOR SPOKEN LANGUAGE HEALTH CARE INTERPRETERS.

(a) The commissioner of human services, in consultation with the commissioner
of health, the Spoken Language Health Care Interpreter Advisory Council established
under Minnesota Statutes, section 148.9986, and representatives from the interpreting
stakeholder community at large, shall study and make recommendations for creating a
tiered reimbursement system for the Minnesota public health care programs for spoken
language health care interpreters based on the different tiers of the spoken language health
care interpreters registry established by the commissioner of health under Minnesota
Statutes, sections 148.9981 to 148.9987.

(b) The commissioner shall submit the proposed reimbursement system, including
the fiscal costs for the proposed system to the chairs and ranking minority members of the
house of representatives and senate committees with jurisdiction over health and human
services policy and finance by January 15, 2018.

Sec. 10. APPROPRIATION.

$....... in fiscal year 2017 is appropriated from the state government special revenue
fund to the commissioner of health for the spoken language health care interpreter registry
start-up costs.

Sec. 11. REPEALER.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 144.058, is repealed effective July 1, 2017.

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