Language Assistance Services
During the COVID-19 public health emergency, in-person interpreter services for spoken languages are temporarily suspended.
HPSM contracted providers are required to provide linguistically appropriate services to members with limited English proficiency (LEP) or with a hearing impairment. We therefore offer free phone, video and in-person American Sign Language services provided by professionally trained interpreters. Understanding these services will help you meet regulatory requirements and provide quality care to your patients.
Click the links below for more information on HPSM provider requirements, language assistance resources, and more.
HPSM has two requirements for providers regarding language assistance service:
1. Document Member Language Preferences and Assistance Offered (Other Than English)
For members with limited English proficiency, document primary language in medical record. At every point of care (onsite or virtual) inform and offer members access to phone and video interpreters free of charge. Document date of interpreter services offered, and indicate member agreement or decline, for assistance.
Provider cannot suggest use of family member or friend as informal interpreters If member refuses use of professional interpreter services, and insist on using a family member, friend or minor, provider must document member’s preference in medical record.
2. Document Staff Bilingual Capabilities and inform HPSM
Maintain practice/clinic documentation of availability of practitioner, and staff, that are fully bilingual in language preferences of assigned members. Information to keep on file may include, but is not limited to:
- Demonstration of proficiency in another language.
- Self-assessment of language proficiency.
- Number of years worked as qualified medical interpreter.
HPSM publishes provider and staff language capabilities in the HPSM Provider directory. Inform HPSM Provider Services of changes in office staff regarding bilingual services and language proficiency to update your staff information in the HPSM Provider directory.
To update HPSM on provider and employee language capabilities, use the language asessment form.
HPSM partners with Certified Languages International (CLI) to offer HPSM members phone and video interpreting services in more than 200 languages. Language interpreters are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for both in-person office visits and telemedicine visits.
HPSM can provide an office-based training session to discuss how to identify and address the linguistic needs of patients whose English proficiency is limited. This includes the use of tools and services available to HPSM providers and members to:
- Identify language needs.
- Work effectively with interpreters.
- Identify and assist patients with low literacy skills.
Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care
Physicians and other health care professionals can earn CME credit by completing an online course: A Physician's Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care. Click here for a free online educational program accredited for physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
Call Health Education at 650-616-2165 to learn more.
- Use Professional Telephonic or Video Interpreters for Onsite and Virtual Visits
- Employee Language Prescreening Tool
- Provider Toolkit Language Assistance Checklist