I support this bill, since it improves the provision of language access for the Limited English Proficient population of the State of Oregon. A professional workforce is essential for providing quality services.
Other medical services all require accreditation to perform their work. Nurses, doctors, psychologists are required to be licensed or accredited to perform their duties. It should be no different with interpreters. The quality of healthcare decisions is at stake, and this affects both the patients and the healthcare institutions where they receive care.
I would recommend that interpreters, who are given a card when they become Certified or Qualified Healthcare Interpreters, be required to submit their OHA identification to the front desk staff when they go to each appointment and have their registry numbers reflected on the patient record. This would be a practical compliance mechanism. Court interpreters are accustomed to this in depositions and court interpreting hearings.
This should be just as reasonable as expecting a driver to show a driver’s license at a traffic stop. It is a patient safety issue.
I approve of deleting interpreters and translators who work for language companies from the list of non-subject workers. This clause has always caused confusion. When I was President of the Oregon Society of Interpreters and Translators and our members found out about this issue regarding worker classification, I had to answer a series of emails about it because it caused consternation. None of the individual providers – who now had no idea what they were – knew how this had happened. They certainly did not recall giving testimony in approval of this issue.
Interpreters and translators should be under the same classification as any other type of independent contractor or employee, just as other professionals such as a writer, a musician, a graphic designer, a part-time nurse, a language teacher, might be.