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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

SF 827

4th Engrossment - 85th Legislature (2007 - 2008) Posted on 12/15/2009 12:00am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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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.

new text begin [62Q.40] LANGUAGE INTERPRETER SERVICES.
new text end

new text begin (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.
new text end

new text begin (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:
new text end

new text begin (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
new text end

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

new text begin (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.
new text end

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

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

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin 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.
new text end

Sec. 2. new text beginINTERPRETER SERVICES WORK GROUP.
new text end

new text begin (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:
new text end

new text begin (1) consumers;
new text end

new text begin (2) interpreters;
new text end

new text begin (3) interpreter service providers or agencies;
new text end

new text begin (4) health plan companies;
new text end

new text begin (5) self-insured purchasers;
new text end

new text begin (6) hospitals;
new text end

new text begin (7) health care providers;
new text end

new text begin (8) dental providers;
new text end

new text begin (9) clinic administrators;
new text end

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

new text begin (11) Minnesota Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf;
new text end

new text begin (12) local county social services agencies;
new text end

new text begin (13) local public health agencies; and
new text end

new text begin (14) three members from the interpreting stakeholders group.
new text end

new text begin 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.
new text end

new text begin (b) The work group shall develop findings and recommendations on the following:
new text end

new text begin (1) assuring access to interpreter services;
new text end

new text begin (2) compliance with requirements of federal law and guidance;
new text end

new text begin (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
new text end

new text begin (4) identifying broad-based funding mechanisms for interpreter services.
new text end

new text begin (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.
new text end

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

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end