August 8, 2019
Revised - Interpretation Services completed in a physician's office

Applicable to: Mercy Care Complete Care, Mercy Care RBHA, Mercy Care Long Term Care, Division of Developmental Disabilities and Mercy Care Advantage
Mercy Care wants to provide you with important reminders regarding Interpretation Services completed in a physician's office to assist you and your patients/our members:    

  • Physical Health appointments are to be fulfilled by A-Z Multilingual. 
  • Behavioral Health appointments are to be fulfilled by Akorbi. 
  • Interpretation requests should include proof of member eligibility and AHCCCS ID, and submitted to the members’ payer of record. 
  • Interpretation services are utilized ONLY when delivering a covered service for activity listed on the member’s ISP. 

  • Any appointment under one hour in duration will be fulfilled via Video Remote Interpretation (VRI) or Over the Phone Interpretation (OPI). 
  • Contact Akorbi if you have not been set up with VRI equipment. 

Interpreter time sheets are to reflect actual service time with patient and physician/clinician present. Time sheets are subject to spot audits by Mercy Care. Additionally:
  • Interpreter time should not include time the interpreter is “available” or waiting and not providing a direct interpreter service;
  • Interpreter time should be documented as exact start and stop time of the appointment. Time should not be rounded up by the hour, half hour or quarter hour;
  • Time sheets should include the number of members serviced during documented time (interpreters may service 2 or more members simultaneously);
  • Time for travel and/or prep time are not billable time; and
  • Activities that are not actual service time (i.e. parking) are not billable.

Interpreters are not allowed to schedule appointments. 

  • Interpreter time is to be billed by time and not by member; and
  • When conducting group therapy sessions with 2 members who speak the same language, one interpreter should be utilized for interpreting the session. Interpreter time sheets should reflect the time spent providing interpretation services and should not reflect “double billing” for the additional member serviced.

Please note that Mercy Care is charged for cancellations. Please utilize the following guidelines when cancelling services with Akorbi:
  • A cancellation reason should always be given and tracked by the provider agency;
  • Provide Mercy Care a list of cancellations on a monthly basis including why the service was cancelled, who cancelled it and when the service was cancelled so that we can track how far in advance the service was cancelled;
  • Whenever possible, cancellations should occur more than 48 hours prior to the service being rendered; and
  • If the service is being rescheduled and not cancelled, ensure that a notation is made on the timesheet being signed that the service was a reschedule.

Please note that if interpretation services are required for a member, whether in a physician's office or in a Home and Community Based Service setting, they will be arranged by the member's Case Manager under Mercy Care Long Term Care or a DDD Support Coordinator under DDD.  

Interpretation services are not a covered service for members residing in a Skilled Nursing Facility.  The Skilled Nursing Facility must provide this service. 

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.  We appreciate your participation in our network and your dedication to the health and welfare of our members and your patients. 

Thanks for all you do!