Interpreter Services

Interpreter Services

Free telephone Interpreter Services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Services got hearing-impaired members are available through California Relay Service (TTD/TTY 1-877-735-2929).


Interpreter Services

Provider Responsibilities-Cultural and Linguistic Services

Dear Provider:
The following guide summarizes all regulatory agency requirements including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) contractual requirements, Medi-Cal Managed Care Division (MMCD) Policy letters, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

Please call Liza Johnson of Preferred IPA at 818-265-0800, x232 if you need clarification or tools to
implement these requirements.

County Threshold languages
Los Angeles County
English Arabic Armenian Chinese
Cambodian Farsi Korean Russian
Spanish Tagalog Vietnamese

Language Preference
Record each patient’s language preference in his medical record.

Interpreter Services Poster
Post the “Free Interpretation Services including American Sign Language” sign at key points of contact. This sign informs patients who are Limited English Proficient (LEP), hard-of-hearing or deaf that free interpreter services are available to them.

Free Interpreter Services
The health plans provide over-the-phone, face-to-face and American Sign Language interpreter services for patients who are LEP, hard-of-hearing or deaf. These services are free to you and your patients.

  •  Patients who are LEP
    • Over-the-phone interpreter services: These services are available 24 hours a day, 7 day a week. The attached matrix provides the phone numbers to get an interpreter on the phone for all Preferred IPA-contracted plans. Also, please refer to the Care1st “Protocol for How to Access Interpreting Services” sheet.
    • Face-to-face interpreter services: Call the Member Services Department of the health plan. Requests must be made with advance notice (amount of days varies depending on the interpreter vendor).
  •  Patients who are hard-of-hearing or deaf
    • To communicate over the phone: You can place calls and receive calls from patients using the California Relay Service (CRS) by dialing 711. The CRS is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    • American Sign Language onsite interpreter services: Call the Member Services Department of the health plan. Requests must be made with advance notice (amount of days varies depending on the interpreter vendor).

For questions about interpreter services after business hours, call Liza Johnson at 818-265-0800,x232. Additionally, please ensure the following:

  • Your after-hours Answering Services staff and on-call physician/nurses know how to connect with over-the-phone interpreter services and CRS. Please refer to the “Protocol for How to Access Interpreting Services” sheet.
  • Your answering machine message instructs patient to call their Health Plan to connect with interpreter services.

Request or Refusal of Interpreter Services

  • Discourage patients from using friends and family members as interpreters. Do not use minors to interpret unless there is an emergency.
  • If a patient requests or refuses interpreter services after being informed of his right to free interpreter services, file a completed “Request/Refusal Form for Interpreter Services” in his medical chart. These forms are available in a variety of languages, including threshold languages. Please call Liza Johnson at 818-265-0800, x232 to request these forms.

Cultural & Language Related Complaints and Grievances
Your patients have a right to file a complaint and grievance if they feel their cultural or language needs
are not met in your office. Grievance forms are available in a variety of languages, including county
threshold languages. Please call Liza Johnson at 818-265-0800, x232 to request these forms.

Referrals to Culturally Appropriate Community Resources & Services
If a patient needs services from a community based organization or a social service agency, please visit or use the Care1st Community Resource Directory to locate resources. The
Care1st Community Resource Directory is available on the Care1st website. Please document the
referral in the patient’s record.

Bilingual Providers & Staff
Providers and staff who communicate with patients in a language other than English or who act as
interpreters are encouraged to take a language proficiency test by a qualified agency. At a minimum,
either of the following should be kept on file bilingual Providers and staff:

  • Completed language capability self-assessment form. Providers and staff may use the ICE
    “Provider & Staff Language Capability Self-Assessment” form. This form is available on the ICE
    and Care1st website.
    • Those who report limited bilingual capabilities should not act as interpreters or
      communicate with patients in a language other than English.
  •  Certification of language proficiency or interpretation training (i.e. resume or curriculum vitae,
    which includes number of years worked as interpreter).

Availability of member materials in threshold languages and alternative formats
Patients may request materials in their preferred language and in an alternative format. Alternative
formats include audio, Braille and Large Print. Please call Liza Johnson at 818-265-0800, x232 for
assistance. You may download materials from

Cultural Competency Training
We encourage you and your staff to attend disability sensitivity and cultural awareness/competency
training programs. These trainings can help enhance your interpersonal and intra-cultural skills,
which can improve communication with your culturally diverse patients, including Seniors and People
with Disabilities. Programs are available through Care1st, L.A. Care and other agencies.