May 3, 2019
Mandatory use of OPI or VRI for interpretation sessions one hour or less

Applicable to: Any Akorbi interpretation services for members of Mercy Care Complete Care, Mercy Care RBHA and Division of Developmental Disabilities                     
As part of Mercy Care’s ongoing efforts to promote efficiency and fiscal responsibility, we are now requiring that providers use over-the-phone interpreting (OPI) or video-remote interpreting (VRI) for interpretation appointments that are less than one hour.

This required process is effective May 15, 2019 and applies to all behavioral health and integrated health providers using Akorbi interpretation services.

Just as with in-person interpretation, OPI and VRI are available through Akorbi and are available at no cost to contracted providers and members.

A provider may schedule face-to-face interpretation if there are several shorter, back-to-back appointments that together require interpretation for longer than one hour. Note that interpretation sessions scheduled in this manner will be subject to auditing by Mercy Care.

Why is Mercy Care modifying this process?
Currently all languages, except Spanish, require scheduling a face-to-face interpreter for a 2-hour minimum, regardless of the length of a member’s appointment. We want to make the best and highest use of our funds so we can continue to deliver quality service to our members.

Important details to remember
>> Interpreters should never be allowed to schedule appointments for members. Behavioral health providers should schedule all interpretation sessions for behavioral health services. Mercy Care Member Services should schedule all interpretation sessions for physical health services.
>> Providers must report to Mercy Care any “red flags” regarding interpreters, including failing to show up for appointments or inappropriate conduct, so the issues are properly and timely addressed.
>> Mercy Care’s RBHA members (including SMI, DDD, crisis, Court Ordered Evaluation) will continue to receive interpretation services from Akorbi for physical and behavioral services.

As always, don't hesitate to contact Teresa Peña, Mercy Care’s Cultural Sensitivity Administrator, at culturalcompetency@mercycareaz.org or 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 .