Interpreters in the state of Washington are in an uproar. So are many healthcare providers there who serve Limited English Proficient patients.
After six years of a government-run program that pays for interpreters for public Medicaid and social services appointments, something changed. The contract was awarded to a new vendor.
The former vendor, CTS LanguageLink, processed payments for more than 7,000 appointments per week on average. About 1,100 interpreters worked under this program.
In the first week of July the new vendor, Universal Language Services (ULS) processed only 1,000 requests. Patients were turned away. Non-union interpreters are being brought in at lower rates.
The interpreters’ union, Interpreters United, is rising to the challenge. We wish them bon courage!