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SB-1423 Medi-Cal: oral interpretation services.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 04/09/2018 09:00 PM
SB1423:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  April 09, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 1423


Introduced by Senator Hernandez

February 16, 2018


An act to amend Section 14005.37 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, Sections 14029.91 and 14727 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to Medi-Cal.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 1423, as amended, Hernandez. Medi-Cal: eligibility: redeterminations. oral interpretation services.
Existing law establishes the Medi-Cal program, administered by the State Department of Health Care Services. The Medi-Cal program is, in part, governed and funded by federal Medicaid program provisions. Under existing law, one of the methods by which Medi-Cal services, including medical, dental, and mental health services, are provided is pursuant to contracts with various types of managed care plans. Existing law requires the department to require all managed care plans and mental health plans contracting with the department to provide language assistance services, including translation services and oral interpretation services by an interpreter who meets specified minimum qualification criteria, to limited-English-proficient (LEP) Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
This bill would modify the minimum qualifications that an interpreter is required to possess to provide oral interpretation services to an LEP beneficiary enrolled in either a managed care plan or a mental health plan.

Existing law provides for the Medi-Cal program, which is administered by the State Department of Health Care Services, under which qualified low-income individuals receive health care services. The Medi-Cal program is, in part, governed and funded by federal Medicaid program provisions. Existing law generally requires a county to redetermine a Medi-Cal beneficiary’s eligibility to receive Medi-Cal benefits every 12 months and whenever the county receives information about changes in a beneficiary’s circumstances that may affect his or her eligibility for Medi-Cal benefits.

This bill would make technical, nonsubstantive changes to these provisions.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 14029.91 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

14029.91.
 (a) The department shall require all managed care plans contracting with the department to provide Medi-Cal services to provide language assistance services to limited-English-proficient (LEP) Medi-Cal beneficiaries who are mandatorily enrolled in managed care in the following manner:
(1) (A) Oral interpretation services shall be provided in any language on a 24-hour basis at key points of contact.
(B) Oral interpretation services shall be provided by an interpreter that, at a minimum, meets all of the following qualifications:
(i) Demonstrated proficiency in speaking and understanding both spoken English and the target language. the language spoken by the LEP beneficiary.

(ii)Knowledge in both English and the target language of health care terminology and concepts relevant to health care delivery systems.

(ii) The ability to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially, both receptively and expressly, to and from the language spoken by the LEP beneficiary and English, using any necessary specialized vocabulary, terminology, and phraseology.
(iii) Adheres Adherence to generally accepted interpreter ethics principles, including client confidentiality.
(C) A managed care plan shall not require a an LEP beneficiary with limited English proficiency to provide his or her own interpreter or rely on a staff member who does not meet the qualifications described in subparagraph (B) to communicate directly with the limited-English-proficient LEP beneficiary.
(D) A managed care plan shall not rely on an adult or minor child accompanying the limited-English-proficient LEP beneficiary to interpret or facilitate communication except under either of the following circumstances:
(i) In an emergency, as defined by the department, and an interpreter who meets the qualifications described in subparagraph (A) is not immediately available for the beneficiary with limited English proficiency. LEP beneficiary.
(ii) If the individual with limited English proficiency LEP beneficiary specifically requests that the accompanying adult interpret or facilitate communication, the accompanying adult agrees to provide that assistance, and reliance on that accompanying adult for that assistance is appropriate under the circumstances.
(2) Translation services shall be provided to the language groups identified by the department.
(3) Written notice of the availability of free language assistance services shall be provided in English and in the top 15 languages spoken by limited-English-proficient LEP individuals in California, as determined by the department, and consistent with the requirements identified in Part 92 of Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations and Section 1557 of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 18116).
(b) The department shall determine when an LEP population meets the requirement for translation services using one of the following numeric thresholds:
(1) A population group of at least 3,000 or 5 percent of the beneficiary population, whichever is fewer, mandatory managed care Medi-Cal beneficiaries, residing in the service area, who indicate their primary language as other than English.
(2) A population group of mandatory managed care Medi-Cal beneficiaries, residing in the service area, who indicate their primary language as other than English, and that meet a concentration standard of 1,000 beneficiaries in a single ZIP Code or 1,500 beneficiaries in two contiguous ZIP Codes.
(c) The department shall make this determination if any of the following occurs:
(1) A nonmanaged care county becomes a new managed care county.
(2) A new population group becomes a mandatory Medi-Cal managed care beneficiary population.
(3) A period of three years has passed since the last determination.
(d) The department shall instruct managed care plans, by means of incorporating the requirement into plan contracts, all-plan letters, or similar instructions, of the language groups that meet the numeric thresholds.
(e) A managed care plan shall notify beneficiaries, prospective beneficiaries, and members of the public of all of the following information:
(1) The availability of language assistance services, including oral interpretation and translated written materials, free of charge and in a timely manner, when those services are necessary to provide meaningful access to health care programs or activities to individuals with limited English proficiency. LEP beneficiaries.
(2) The availability of appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified interpreters for individuals with disabilities and information in alternate formats, free of charge and in a timely manner, when those aids and services are necessary to ensure an equal opportunity to participate for individuals with disabilities.
(3) A managed care plan does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, marital status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or disability.
(4) The availability of a grievance procedure and how to file a grievance, including identification of, and contact information for, the designated managed care plan representative.
(5) How to file a discrimination complaint with the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights if there is a concern of discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.
(f) (1) The information described in paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) and subdivision (e) shall be provided in the following manner:
(A) In the evidence of coverage.
(B) Posted in conspicuous physical locations where the managed care plan interacts with the public.
(C) On the Internet Web site published and maintained by the managed care plan in a manner that allows a beneficiary, prospective beneficiary, and members of the public to easily locate the information.
(2) To the extent the information described in paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) and subdivision (e) is not included in existing informational notices, a managed care plan shall add this information at the time of the next regularly scheduled update of the applicable publication.
(g) The amendments made to this section by the act that added this subdivision shall be implemented by the department only to the extent that federal financial participation is available and is not otherwise jeopardized.
(h) This section does not apply to mental health plans contracting with the department pursuant to Section 14712.
(i) For purposes of this section, a person is “limited-English-proficient” if he or she speaks English less than very well.

SEC. 2.

 Section 14727 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

14727.
 (a) A mental health plan shall notify beneficiaries, prospective beneficiaries, and members of the public of all of the following information:
(1) The availability of language assistance services, including oral interpretation and translated written materials, free of charge and in a timely manner, when those services are necessary to provide meaningful access to an individual with limited English proficiency. proficiency (LEP).
(2) The availability of appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified interpreters for individuals with disabilities and information in alternate formats, free of charge and in a timely manner, when those aids and services are necessary to ensure an equal opportunity to participate for individuals with disabilities.
(3) A mental health plan does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, marital status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or disability.
(4) The availability of the grievance procedure and how to file a grievance, including identification of, and contact information for, the designated mental health plan representative.
(5) How to file a discrimination complaint with the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights if there is a concern of discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.
(b) Written notice of the availability of free language assistance services shall be provided in English and in the top 15 languages spoken by limited-English-proficient LEP individuals in California, as determined by the department, and consistent with the requirements identified in Part 92 of Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations and Section 1557 of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 18116).
(c) (1) The information described in subdivisions (a) and (b) shall be provided in the following manner:
(A) In the beneficiary handbook.
(B) Posted in conspicuous physical locations where the mental health plan interacts with the public.
(C) On the Internet Web site published and maintained by the mental health plan, in a manner that allows beneficiaries, prospective beneficiaries, and members of the public to easily locate the information.
(2) To the extent the information described in subdivisions (a) and (b) is not included in existing informational notices, a mental health plan shall add this information at the time of the next regularly scheduled update of the applicable publication.
(d) Oral interpretation services shall be provided to an LEP beneficiary by an interpreter that, at a minimum, meets all of the following qualifications:
(1) Demonstrated proficiency in speaking and understanding both English and the target language. the language spoken by the LEP beneficiary.

(2)Knowledge in both English and the target language of health care terminology and concepts relevant to health care delivery systems.

(2) The ability to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially, both receptively and expressly, to and from the language spoken by the LEP beneficiary and English, using any necessary specialized vocabulary, terminology, and phraseology.
(3) Adheres Adherence to generally accepted interpreter ethics principles, including client confidentiality.
(e) A mental health plan shall not require a beneficiary with limited English proficiency an LEP beneficiary to provide his or her own interpreter or rely on a staff member who does not meet the qualifications described in subdivision (d) to communicate directly with the limited-English-proficient LEP beneficiary.
(f) A mental health plan shall not rely on an adult or minor child accompanying the limited-English-proficient LEP beneficiary to interpret or facilitate communication except under either of the following circumstances:
(1) In an emergency, as defined by the department, and an interpreter who meets the qualifications described in subdivision (d) is not immediately available for the beneficiary with limited English proficiency. LEP beneficiary.
(2) If the individual with limited English proficiency LEP beneficiary specifically requests that the accompanying adult interpret or facilitate communication, the accompanying adult agrees to provide that assistance, and reliance on that accompanying adult for that assistance is appropriate under the circumstances.
(g) This section shall be implemented only to the extent that federal financial participation is available and is not otherwise jeopardized.