January 10, 2020
Interpreter standards
Applicable to: Mercy Care Complete Care, Mercy Care RBHA, Mercy Care Long Term Care, Division of Developmental Disabilities and Mercy Care Advantage

Mercy Care and contracted Interpretation Vendors strive to provide members a positive experience every time they use interpretation services. We want to ensure interpreters are meeting provider and member expectations and members have access to interpretive services.

It’s also vital to remember that at no time shall a member go without interpretation services. Several interpretive modalities are available based on the member’s individual needs and length of the appointment. These modalities include video remote interpretation (VRI), over the phone interpretation (OPI) and face to face. To ensure ease of access, Mercy Care requests if an appointment is one hour or less and clinically appropriate, the Provider request VRI interpretation or over the phone (OPI).

Providers are expected to follow the below guidelines when scheduling interpretative services:

  • Confirm clinical need of the interpretive service as indicated on the member’s assessment and treatment plan. 
  • Determine if interpretive services are clinically needed for:
              o If one hour or under, utilize VRI or OPI unless clinically noted.
              o If over one hour, face to face services may be utilized as clinically noted. 
                Providers have the capability to call in VRI or OPI services themselves. 
  •  Confirm the member’s eligibility before requesting interpretive services. Providers will be responsible for paying services delivered to non-Mercy eligible members. 

To ensure access to services, care coordination and cost, it is the Providers’ responsibility to cancel interpretive services with the vendor. Providers are responsible to cancel in a timely manner to avoid late cancellation fees. 

In addition, you should ensure that no interpretation services are scheduled during days and times when your agency is closed.

Providers are expected to review and adhere to the following guidelines for interpreter that summarize services interpreters are expected to provide along with items outside the Interpreter Code of Conduct.
Interpreter Guidelines
The interpreter should:
  • Provide a professional language interpretation ensuring accurate and complete communication between a provider and the limited English proficient (LEP) member.
The interpreter should NOT :
  • Act as an “advocate” for the LEP member, including:
              o Encourage provider or LEP member to request them by name.
              o Interact with the LEP member outside the role of an interpreter.
              o Socialize or communicate with the LEP member outside of the presence of the provider.
              o Provide transportation or other support to the LEP member.
  • Discuss compensation with the doctor/provider/care coordinator/case manager/LEP member. 
If during any encounter you observe an Interpreter’s behavior to be outside of these guidelines, please contact Mercy Care Cultural Competency at CulturalCompetency@mercycareaz.org  as soon as possible so that our team may work with the Interpreter Provider to take appropriate actions and as appropriate, work with the member and or on behalf of the member file a grievance, appeal or complaint.

As always, don't hesitate to contact your Mercy Care Provider Relations Representative with any questions or comments. You can find this notice and all other provider notices on our Mercy Care website .

Thanks for all you do!