HHS Seeking Obamacare Marketplace Translation Services for Over 100 Languages


By Katharine Allen & Barry S. Olsen

Published: 08 August 2013


From the Weekly Standard...


Article Excerpt: "News broke Wednesday that, even as the October 1 deadline for Obamacare "marketplaces" approaches, training requirements for Obamacare "navigators" were being scaled back by one-third. With less than two months remaining, the Obama administration is also facing increasing pressure to make sure data privacy and security concerns are addressed with the new system.


Now the Department of Health and Human Services is seeking to fill another need relating to the operation of the exchanges: translation services. On Monday, HHS posted a notice looking for small business sources to provide "Telephone Interpretation and Written Document Translation Services" for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services's (CMS) 24 x 7 Medicare contact center as well as CMS's Health Insurance Marketplace call center."


Link to full news story here


InterpretAmerica's Take: In an Interpreting the News post back in July we noted, "the new healthcare exchanges being built will interact with millions of newly-covered limited English-speaking patients online, over the phone, and through written materials." Based on the recently released notice from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), it would appear that the Obama Administration has finally begun the process of preparing to ensure equal access to healthcare for limited English-speaking patients under the new system. This massive linguistic undertaking (24/7 telephone interpreting services and written translation in 100 languages!) has not even gone to tender yet, and the deadline for implementation is less than two months away. If the initial translation problems we highlighted last month were just the "tip of the iceberg," then this notice from HHS brings the full iceberg into view. If enterprising language service companies have diligently built up their capacity to meet the demanding requirements to serve this market, things may go smoothly. If they haven't, come October, we are in for a bumpy ride.  

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