What is HB 2359? Oregon’s House Bill 2359 took effect July 1st, 2022 and states that medical providers must first request healthcare interpreters from the Oregon Health Authority healthcare registry to cover interpreting for on-site medical appointments before sending someone who is not in the OHA registry.

In this video, David Brackett, CEO and Founder of Linguava Interpreters, gives a brief explanation of what that means for medical providers in Oregon. Read on to learn more about the House Bill 2359.

What is HB 2359?

Oregon House Bill 2359 has put into action new requirements surrounding interpreting services for health care in Oregon. All health care providers who receive public funding now have to use qualified or certified interpreters for on site appointments. These interpreters are listed on the Oregon HCI (Health Care Interpreter) registry.

This chart shows the actual number of interpreters represented on the HCI registry (as of June 2022).

a chart showing the number of interpreters of the top 8 languages in oregon on the HCI registry

How does HB 2359 affect Oregon health care providers?

Providers must maintain records of every patient encounter where an interpreter was used from the HCI registry. These records will need to include:

  • Name of health care interpreter
  • Registry number of health care interpreter
  • The language that was interpreted

The Oregon Health Authority is giving health care providers some time to transition to these requirements. HB 2359 gives exceptions for working with an interpreter that is not on the registry in the following situations:

  • The health care provider is proficient in the patient’s preferred language.
  • The patient prefers to work with an interpreter that is not listed on the registry (after being offered an interpreter that is listed on the registry).
  • No interpreters on the registry were available for the patient’s preferred language.

Health care providers must document the steps taken to work with someone on the central registry if no interpreter listed is available.

Providers will need to supply personal protective equipment on site at no cost to the interpreter. They may not suggest that the interpreter provide their own personal protective equipment as a condition of working on location.

The following chart shows the number of Languages of Limited Diffusion and interpreters available for those languages (as of June 2022).

chart showing the languages of limited diffusion on the oregon HCI registry relating to HB 2359

What does this mean for interpreters?

Interpreters that are not certified or qualified are encouraged to do so. To make the process easier for interpreters, the Oregon Health Authority has removed all application and renewal fees. OHA has also removed the requirement for a background check to become listed as a qualified or certified Health Care Interpreter on the central registry.

What about remote interpreting?

Currently, HB 2359 only requires providers to use certified and qualified interpreters that are listed on the central registry in onsite interpreting situations. However, this law will be extended to  remote interpreting during this transition period and will take effect July 1, 2023.

Linguava is dedicated to providing meaningful language access at each step of the patient journey. As a top language access company with the most qualified and certified interpreters in Oregon, we are here to answer any questions you have around this bill and what that means for your practice and your patients. Call us at 503-265-8515 or email clientrelations@linguava.com.

Resources:
Oregon Health Care Interpreter Program Changes
House Bill 2359 of the 81st Oregon Legislative Assembly– 2021 Regular Session


Full Video Transcript:

David: Hello, my name is David Brackett. I’m the founder and CEO here at Linguava. One of the questions that many of us are asking right now is what is this new House Bill 2359? What does it mean for me? And what should I do about it?

As of July 1st, 2022 the new law states that medical providers must first request healthcare interpreters from the OHA healthcare registry in order to cover their onsite medical appointments.

And one of the things that we are doing at Linguava is we recognize that today there’s not enough interpreters in the registry to cover all of the requested assignments.

There’s currently 22 languages that are represented in the registry. Many of which only have one or maybe two interpreters in the entire registry for the whole State of Oregon.

So we are creating our own training program that will also help expedite the process. To be able to get more interpreters Qualified and Certified as quickly as possible. Another thing that we’re doing is we are prioritizing Qualified and Certified interpreters first for all medical appointments. So when you do request an interpreter with Linguava, we first would prioritize a Qualified or Certified interpreter and only send an interpreter that was not Qualified or Certified if all resources had first been exhausted, which is in line with what the law states.

Another important piece is that this is only for onsite appointments. This is not for remote interpretation yet. That is part of the next round of the bill that will go into effect in 2023 in July.

If you have any other questions at all, we are here to help answer those. You can reach out to us here at the email or phone number below, and we’re happy to walk you through this new process with you.

 

Phone: 503-265-8515

Email: clientrelations@linguava.com