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Important 2020 DOWC rule change for interpreter certification

The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DOWC) has announced a delay in the interpreter certification

April 30, 2020
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The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DOWC) has announced the 2020 DOWC Rule 18-7: Use of an Interpreter effective April 30, 2020. “Rates and terms shall be negotiated. Prior authorization for payment (see Rule 16-6) is required except for initial and emergency treatment. DOWC Z0722 is billable in 15 minute increments with a minimum of one hour.”   Billing code Z0722 is used by interpreters who are not contracted with Pinnacol. Interpreters who are contracted with Pinnacol as SelectNet providers have additional billing codes identified in their contracts.

As of January 1, 2022, to be paid for interpreting services at an injured worker’s medical appointment, the DOWC is requiring interpreters to be listed as nationally certified on one of the certification bodies listed in Rule 18-7.   As of April 2020, certifiable languages are Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Russian and Korean

As of 2022, for all other languages, or in the event a certified interpreter is unavailable, the interpreter must be qualified. Qualified means the interpreter has documentation showing completion of at least 40 hours of healthcare interpreter training.

Providers can use their own interpreters, but Pinnacol cannot pay them unless they are certified and prior authorization is obtained. Providers must make alternative arrangements such as working directly with the vendors or employing bilingual staff to provide interpretation services for injured workers who request interpretation.

Action steps prior to 2022

  • Contact interpretation service vendors you may already work with to determine whether they are certified by one of the two certification bodies, or whether they intend to become certified by 2022.
  • Research additional vendors (telephonic or in-person) to determine if they can offer certified interpreters.
  • Qualified interpretation service providers can be found at Language World Services, Certified Languages International, MARTTI/Cloudbreak, Stratus Video, AT&T on Demand Language, etc.
  • Contact the DOWC with any questions.

Christy Culkin, Medical Services Manager/Division Strategy Manager
Division of Workers' Compensation
633 17th St., Suite 400, Denver, CO 80202-3660
P 303.318.8668 | F 303.318.3758 |

Use of Interpretion Services

DOWC Rules of Procedure

16-2(E) Standard Terminology for Rules 16, 17 and 18

18-7(H) Division Established Codes and Values – Use of an Interpreter for Limited English Proficiency  (effective April 30, 2020)

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