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S.F. No. 1708 - Registration System for Spoken Language Health Care Interpreters
Author: Senator Melissa H. Wiklund
Prepared By: Katie Cavanor, Senate Counsel (651/296-3801)
Date: March 2, 2017


SF 1708 replaces the current roster system for spoken language health care interpreters with a registry system.

Section 1 (146C.01) defines the following terms:  advisory council; certified interpreter; code of ethics; commissioner; common languages; interpreting standards of practice; registered interpreter; registry; remote interpretation; spoken language health care interpreter; and spoken language interpreting services.

Section 2 (146C.03) establishes a registry system for spoken language health care interpreters.

Subdivision 1, paragraph (a) requires the Commissioner of Health to establish by July 1, 2018, a registry for spoken language health care interpreters.  Specifies that to be eligible for the registry, an applicant must be 18 years of age and must affirm that the applicant has read and agrees to abide by the code of ethics and interpreting standards of practice.

Paragraph (b) requires any individual who wants to be on the registry to submit an application to the commissioner along with the applicable fees.  Specifies what the application must include.  Requires an applicant who is seeking to be listed on the registry as a registered or certified interpreter to submit evidence with their application indicating that the requirements of subdivision 2 or subdivision 3 have been met.

Paragraph (c) requires the commissioner to determine if the applicant meets the requirements for the selected category and authorizes the commissioner to request additional information from the applicant.  Requires the commissioner to notify the applicant of the action taken on the application and if the applicant is denied the grounds for denial. 

Paragraph (d) specifies that if the application is denied, the applicant may reapply for the same category or for a different category by submitting a new application.

Paragraph (e) specifies that if an applicant qualifies for different categories for different languages, the applicant is only required to submit one application and submit the required application fee.

Paragraph (f) authorizes the commissioner to request additional information from an applicant as deemed necessary.

Subd. 2 describes the requirements for being listed on the registry as a registered interpreter.

Subd. 3 describes the requirements for being listed on the registry as a certified interpreter.

Subd. 4 requires the commissioner to maintain the registry on the department's Web site and include on the Web site information on resources that may be available to interpreters to assist interpreters in meeting registry training and testing requirements.

Subd. 5 requires a listed interpreter to inform the commissioner in writing within 30 days if the interpreter changes their name, address, or email address.  Specifies that any notice or other correspondence mailed to the interpreter’s address or e-mail on file with the commissioner shall be considered received by the interpreter.

Subd. 6 specifies that all information submitted to the commissioner by an applicant is classified in accordance with section 13.41.

Section 3 (146C.05) establishes the registry renewal process.

Subdivision 1 specifies that the registry period is valid for one year.  To renew, an interpreter must submit a renewal application, a continuing education report, and the required fees.

Subd. 2 requires the commissioner to send out a renewal notice to the interpreter’s last known address on file with the commissioner 60 days before the registry expiration date.  Requires the interpreter to meet the deadline for renewal for continuous inclusion on the registry even if the interpreter did not receive the renewal notice.  Specifies that a renewal application must be received by the commissioner or postmarked at least 30 days before the expiration date.

Subd. 3 requires the renewal application to include the late fee if submitted after the deadline.

Subd. 4 requires an interpreter whose registry listing has lapsed for more than one year to submit a new application to be listed on the registry.

Section 4 (146C.07) describes prohibited conduct and disciplinary actions that may be taken by the commissioner.

Subdivision 1 describes the prohibited conduct that if violated, may be grounds for disciplinary action.

Subd. 2 authorizes the commissioner to initiate an investigation upon receiving a complaint alleging a violation.

Subd. 3 lists the disciplinary action the commissioner may take.

Subd. 4 permits interpreters who have been removed from the registry or have had their practice suspended to request and provide justification for reinstatement following a period of suspension.  The interpreter must meet the requirements of these sections or any other condition imposed by the commissioner before the interpreter may be listed on the registry or have the right to practice reinstated.

Section 5 (146C.09) specifies the continuing education requirements.

Subdivision 1 requires the advisory council to approve continuing education courses and training.  Specifies that all registry interpreters must complete three hours of continuing education during each one-year registry period.

Subd. 2 requires the interpreter to submit with a renewal application a continuing education report on a form provided by the commissioner that indicates that the interpreter has met the required hours.

Subd. 3 authorizes the commissioner or the advisory council to audit a percentage of the reports based on a random selection.

Section 6 (146C.11) establishes the spoken language health care interpreter advisory council.  Describes the makeup of the council and their duties.

Section 7 (146C.13) establishes the applicable fees.  Specifies that the fees are nonrefundable and shall be deposited in the state government special revenue fund.

Section 8 (256B.0625, subd.18a) specifies that beginning July 1, 2019, spoken language health care interpreter services must be provided by an interpreter who is listed on the registry for the services to be covered by medical assistance.  Prior to July 1, 2019, the interpreter must either be listed on the current roster or listed in the new registry.

Section 9 requires the Commissioner of Health to convene the first meeting of the Spoken Language Health Care Advisory Council by October 1, 2017.

Section 10 specifies that the spoken language health care interpreters registry fees shall be $50 for the period of July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019, and $70 for the period of July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020.

Section 11, subd. 1 requires the Commissioner of Health to review the fees established for the spoken language health care interpreter registry and ensure that the fees are at an appropriate level to recover the cost involved in implementing the registry.

Subd. 2 requires the Commissioner of Human Services, in consultation with the Commissioner of Health, the advisory council and interested community stakeholders to study and make recommendations for creating a stratified reimbursement system for the public health care programs for spoken language health care interpreters based on the spoken language health care interpreters registry.  Specifies that any proposed reimbursement rates must not be less than the current medical assistance reimbursement rates for spoken language health care interpreter services.  Requires the commissioner to submit the proposed reimbursement system including the fiscal costs for the proposed system to the legislature by January 15. 2018.  Any proposed reimbursement system shall not be implemented without enactment by the legislature.

Section 12 appropriates money to the Commissioner of Health to implement the registry and to the Commissioner of Human Services for the study and the development of proposed stratified reimbursement system.

Section 13 repeals section 144.058 (current roster system) effective July 1. 2018.





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