Language Access at Risk

UPDATED 7/23/18

On Saturday at our statewide Local 1671 meeting and workshop, we discussed our next steps.  Everyone is supportive about doing them, but when we asked who could commit to an action on Monday afternoon, very few could go.
We have rescheduled our next day of ACTION for Thursday morning in Olympia.

HCA has arranged a mtg with ULS on Thursday. ULS officials will be in Olympia. This is an important step to make our voice heard.

Interpreters United Local 1671 on the march to HCA

ACTION/MARCH Thursday morning at the HCA building in Olympia. (626 8th Ave, Olympia - corner of Cherry and 8th).
The meeting starts at 9am so we would like to meet in front of the building at 8:15 to 8:30am. Wear your green shirts!!
We look forward to seeing you there! Keep sending in your examples of violations and system problems to HCA at [email protected] and to [email protected]

Original message (7/13/18):

For the past six years, Washington State has had a successful interpreter services program that provides language access to Medicaid and DSHS Limited English Proficient (LEP) persons.

In 2017, the statewide vendor CTS LanguageLink processed payments for 385,000 DSHS and HCA-Medicaid appointments at a rate of 7,336 per week on average. 1,100 interpreters worked under this program.

On July 1, 2018, the Health Care Authority’s chosen new vendor, Universal Language Services (ULS), took over the program with disastrous consequences:

  • On the first week of July, ULS processed only 1,000 requests compared to a weekly average of 7,000.
  • Washington LEP residents are being turned away by state agencies and healthcare providers for lack of interpreters in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Executive Order 13666.
  • Requests for HCA Certified Medicare Interpreters are being diverted to private sector pay depriving Interpreters, from their collectively bargained living wages ($25/hr instead of $39.76); depriving Medicaid healthcare providers from a free service that encourages their participation in the Medicaid network giving LEP patients more options to meet their healthcare needs; and depriving DSHS and DCYF from interpreter services at lower cost.



CALL THE GOVERNOR at (360) 902-4111


Ask the Governor to terminate the contract with ULS and return to CTS immediately.

For more information, please contact Interpreters United / WFSE Local 1671 at [email protected]