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SF 827

4th Engrossment - 85th Legislature (2007 - 2008) Posted on 06/21/2017 11:31am

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A bill for an act
relating to health; requiring coverage for interpreter services; establishing an
interpreter services work group; requiring reports; proposing coding for new law
in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 62Q.

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

Section 1.

[62Q.40] LANGUAGE INTERPRETER SERVICES.

(a) A health plan must cover sign language interpreter services provided to deaf and
hard-of-hearing enrollees and language interpreter services provided to enrollees with
limited English proficiency in order to facilitate the provision of covered health care
services by a provider. For purposes of this section, "provider" has the meaning given
in section 62J.03, subdivision 8, and includes a health care provider facility; and "health
plan" includes coverage excluded under section 62A.011, subdivision 3, clauses (6), (7),
(9), and (10). Interpreter services may be provided in person, by telephone, facsimile,
video or audio streaming, or by video conference. In accordance with paragraphs (b)
and (c), a health plan company shall reimburse either the party providing interpreter
services directly for the costs of language interpreter services provided to the enrollee or
the provider arranging for the provision of interpreter services. Providers that employ
or contract with interpreters may bill and shall be reimbursed directly by health plan
companies for such services in accordance with paragraph (b). A health plan company
shall provide to enrollees, upon request, the policies and procedures for addressing the
needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing enrollees and enrollees with limited English proficiency.
All parties providing interpreter services must disclose their methods for ensuring
competency upon request of any health plan company, provider, or consumer.

(b) A health plan company may pay for interpreter services as required in paragraph
(a) by establishing a network of interpreter service providers and requiring use of its own
network of interpreter services providers. The health plan company shall consider, as part
of its interpreter service provider network, entering into an agreement with a provider for
use of an interpreter service provider employed by or under contract with the provider if:

(1) the provider accepts as reimbursement for services rendered by the provider's
employed or contracted interpreter service provider the lesser of either the health plan
company's reimbursement rate for its in-network interpreter service providers or the
provider's fee for services rendered by the provider's interpreter service provider; and

(2) the interpreter service provider meets the published quality standards of the
health plan company.

(c) If a health plan company's or a provider's employed or contracted interpreter
service provider is unavailable to provide interpreter services, the health plan company
shall reimburse the interpreter service provider at the lesser of the health plan company's
median reimbursement rate for its in-network interpreter service providers or the
interpreter service provider's fee. An interpreter service provider not employed or under
contract with a health plan company or provider who fails to meet the quality standards
of a health plan company or as required by law, shall be ineligible for reimbursement
under this section.

(d) If the health plan company pays the interpreter service provider directly, it has no
obligation to pay the provider under this section.

(e) Nothing in this section requires a health plan company to establish a network
of interpreter service providers.

EFFECTIVE DATE.

This section is effective July 1, 2008, and applies to plans
issued or renewed to provide coverage to Minnesota residents on or after that date unless
the legislature enacts alternative funding sources based on the recommendations of the
commissioner of health.

Sec. 2. INTERPRETER SERVICES WORK GROUP.

(a) The commissioner of health shall, in consultation with the commissioners of
commerce, human services, and employee relations, convene a work group to study the
provision of interpreter services to patients in medical and dental care settings. The work
group shall include one representative from each of the following groups:

(1) consumers;

(2) interpreters;

(3) interpreter service providers or agencies;

(4) health plan companies;

(5) self-insured purchasers;

(6) hospitals;

(7) health care providers;

(8) dental providers;

(9) clinic administrators;

(10) state agency staff from the Departments of Health, Human Services, and
Employee Relations;

(11) Minnesota Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf;

(12) local county social services agencies;

(13) local public health agencies; and

(14) three members from the interpreting stakeholders group.

The appointments to the work group must be completed by September 1, 2007. The
commissioner of health shall designate the chair of the work group from the appointments
made under this paragraph.

(b) The work group shall develop findings and recommendations on the following:

(1) assuring access to interpreter services;

(2) compliance with requirements of federal law and guidance;

(3) developing a quality assurance program to ensure the quality of health care
interpreting services, including requirements for training and establishing a certification
process; and

(4) identifying broad-based funding mechanisms for interpreter services.

(c) Based on the discussions of the work group, the commissioner shall make
recommendations to the chairs of the health policy and finance committees in the house of
representatives and senate by January 15, 2008, on how to ensure high quality interpreter
services for patients in medical and dental settings, and for a broad-based funding
mechanism for delivering these services.

(d) The work group expires the day following the submission of the report required
by paragraph (c).

EFFECTIVE DATE.

This section is effective the day following final enactment.

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