Sacremento,CA (WorkCompAcademy) - Is $448 enough compensation for a full day's work for a certified interpreter servicing a hearing and deposition in California? What about $225 for half a day's work? Some of them who are responding to the newly proposed fee regulations do not think so.
The DWC wants to know, so it is seeking public comment on the proposed interpreter fee schedule regulations it posted to its online forum on April 2, 2018.
Another complained about the percentage of the interpreter's fee that interpreting agencies charge as a commission. "As it stands today, they take 30-50%. No one is even mentioning the disproportionate ratio of the broker's commission versus the interpreter's fee. We the interpreters are the service providers, not the agencies or brokers."
She also complains that there "is no allowance for parking fees or for mileage, which, especially for interpreters who live and work in rural areas, in all fairness must be taken into consideration."
A Korean interpreter complains that the fee schedule "is hopelessly removed from the market rates." He concludes that "the new lower rates will serve a single purpose of benefiting the insurance companies."
The chief objective of the proposal is to create a uniform fee structure, which it said is based on the federal court system.
Interpreters' compensation has become a thorny issue in California ever since amendments have been introduced in the Labor Code and other state laws over the past three years to curb the incidence of medical fraud.
In May 2017, a group of interpreters even took the DWC to court over the new system of compensation for interpreters. In June, the same group led the fight against allowing "provisionally certified" interpreters to work if certified legal and medical interpreters are not available, which the group claimed has led to the undercutting of fees.
The regulation is also introducing a streamlined process for claiming payments, which includes detailed invoice information and billing codes. It also requires full documentation on the process of selection and arrangement of interpreters, especially if “alternative” interpreters were selected in the absence of a certified interpreter.
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