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Off topic: Calling all Texas translators and interpreters
Thread poster: yolanda Speece
yolanda Speece  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
Aug 1, 2005

Have you all heard about Texas HOUSE BILL 1341?
It was allowed to die in committee during this past session.

I am placing the bill in this forum because I want you all to look at it and tell me what you all think of it. Do you like it? do you hate it? If you don't like it, what would you change?

If you are opposed to it, tell me why.


H.B. No. 1341
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT relating to the creation of an advisory committee to establish qualifications for certain health care translators and interpreters.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Chapter 531, Government Code, is amended by adding Subchapter M to read as follows:

SUBCHAPTER M. ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON QUALIFICATIONS FOR HEALTH CARE
TRANSLATORS AND INTERPRETERS

Sec. 531. 451. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
(1) "Advisory committee" means the Advisory Committee on Qualifications for Health Care Translators and Interpreters.
(2) "Health care" means medical care, surgical care, hospital care, or any remedial care provided to diagnose, prevent, alleviate, or cure a patient's injury or illness, including mental health care.
(3) "Health care interpreter" means a person who is trained to orally communicate with a person with limited English proficiency by accurately conveying oral health care related statements into English and the language of the person with limited English proficiency.
(4) "Health care practitioner" means an individual who furnishes patient health care services under a license, certification, or registration issued by this state.
(5) "Health care translator" means a person who is trained to communicate in writing with a person with limited English proficiency by accurately translating written health care related statements into English and the language of the person with limited English proficiency.



(6) "Person with limited English proficiency" means a person who:
a. because of the person's place of birth or culture, speaks a language other than English; and
b. does not speak English adequately enough to communicate effectively with a health care practitioner.

Sec. 531.452. APPLICABILITY OF OTHER LAW. Except as otherwise provided by this subchapter or a rule adopted by the executive commissioner, the advisory committee is subject to
Chapter 2110.

Sec. 531.453. APPLICATION OF SUNSET ACT. The Advisory Committee on Qualifications for Health Care Translators and Interpreters is subject to Chapter 325, Government Code (Texas
Sunset Act). Unless continued in existence as provided by this chapter, the committee is abolished September 1, 2017.

Sec. 531.454. ESTABLISHMENT. The executive commissioner shall establish the Advisory Committee on Qualifications for Health Care Translators and Interpreters.

Sec. 531.455. MEMBERS.
(a) The Advisory Committee on Qualifications for Health Care Translators and Interpreters is composed of not less than 10 members appointed by the executive commissioner as provided by this section.
(b) The advisory committee must include:
i. one member who is a representative of a professional Translators and Interpreters Association;
ii. one member who is a health care interpreter;
iii. one member who is a representative of a mental health services provider;
iv. one member who is a risk manager for a hospital;
v. one member who represents the insurance industry;
vi. one member who represents a business entity that provides translators and interpreters to health care practitioners;
vii. one member who represents an organization that provides services to immigrants and refugees; and
viii. one member who is a representative of an institute of higher education.

(c) The remaining members of the advisory committee must include at least one health care practitioner and additional members, as determined by the executive commissioner, who represent the interests of consumers.

Sec. 531.456. DUTIES. (a) The advisory committee shall establish and recommend qualifications for health care interpreters and health care translators that include:
(1) for a person to be qualified as a health care interpreter or a health care translator, requiring the person to:
a. fluently interpret another language and convey that language into English and English into the other language:
b. have successfully completed at least 60 hours of training that includes training in anatomy, physiology, and medical interpretation, interpreter ethics; and
c. have practical experience as an interpreter or translator; and
(2) for a person to be certified as a health care interpreter, requiring the person, in addition to meeting the requirements under Subsection (1), to pass a written and oral exam on medical terminology in English and at least one other language.
(b) The advisory committee shall advise the commission on:
(1) the language proficiency required for certification as a health care interpreter or health care translator;
(2) training requirements for health care interpreters and health care translators;
(3) standards of practice for health care interpreters and health care translators;
(4) the requirements, content, and administration of certification examinations for health care interpreters and health care translators;
(5) the procedures for testing, qualifying, and certifying health care interpreters and health care translators; and
(6) reciprocity agreements with other states.

(c) The advisory committee shall:
(1) develop strategies for implementing the regulation of health care interpreters and health care translators;
(2) make recommendations to the commission for any legislation necessary to establish and enforce qualifications for health care interpreters and health care translators or for the adoption of rules by state agencies regulating health care practitioners, hospitals, physician offices, and health care facilities that hire health care interpreters or health care translators; and
(3) perform other activities assigned by the commission related to health care interpreters or health care translators.

Sec. 531.457. COMPENSATION; REIMBURSEMENT. A member of the advisory committee may not receive compensation, but is entitled to reimbursement of the travel expenses incurred by the member while conducting the business of the advisory committee, as provided by the General Appropriations Act.

SECTION 2. Not later than January 1, 2006, the executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission shall establish the Advisory Committee on Qualifications for Health Care
Translators and Interpreters as required by Subchapter M, Chapter 531, Government Code, as added by this Act.

SECTION 3. This Act takes effect September 1, 2005

Personally, I think it is pretty strighforward but there is some opposition to it. The reasoning for the opposition is unclear. Maybe you all can clarify for me.



[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-08-01 21:25]


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Tsu Dho Nimh
Local time: 23:03
English
Penalties for using "illegal" interpreters? Aug 2, 2005

What are the penalites in the bill:

What happens if there is no "certified" interpreter around for an obscure language such as Tagalog?

Can the hospital use a nurse or lab tech who happens to speak it?

Will the ad-hoc interpreter get jailed or fined? Lose their own RN or MT certification for doing it?

Will the medical institution who allows non-cert interpreters be fined or otherwise sanctioned?


********
I can forsee a situation where a hospital's legal staff, rather than violate the law, will BAN all attempts to communicate by anyone who is not a certified interpreter.

Some things can be formally translated, and I can see the use of a formally interpreted video with the usual boilerplate about policies and procedures. It would be useful.

BUT: I can also see massive violation of this statute by anyone involved in patient care in a multi-lingual community. If the patient will suffer for lack of ad-hoc translation or interpreting, they'll go for whatever helps the patient. I've seen charades, point-and-grunt, and sketches on napkins used to communicate when there was no common language between a ski patroller (bilingual Apache and English) and the skier (Bahrain passport, bilingual Arabic/French) with the funny-looking angle to his wrist


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yolanda Speece  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hello Tsu! Aug 3, 2005

Right now, it is just an introduction. It is a bill to define the profession within the state much like teachers.

About 20 years ago, the state of Texas had no real definition as to the qualifications of teachers. As long as you had a few years of college, you could teach. You didn't even have to graduate.

The problem the state was facing was that students were graduating and they should not have been allowed to graduate because they did not possess the skills necessary to function. Somebody somewhere got concerned.

So the state governor at the time came up with what they refer to as an Eduction Reform Bill.

This was established to set up the qualifications of the teachers.

It also required students to take exit exams, there was a rule called "no pass, no play" which meant that students had to have at least a "C" average in order to perform in extracurricular activities.

Teachers were also required to take competency exams in their field and competency exams so they could be hired to teach.

Before they did all of this they set up a committee to detemine what kinds of qualifications a teacher should have in order to teach. The committee was made up of teachers, administrators, parents, etc.

No penalties or anything like that are part of the bill. It is just what the state recommends. It isn't imposed.

I guess I should explain this. It is kind of like perishable goods like, milk. It has an expiration date and it RECOMMENDS that you consume it before the expiration date. You can still consume it after that day if you like. It is just not recommended.

So this bill will be an introduction to future bills dealing with this type of legislation.

At least this is my understanding of it.

I think they are mostly focusing on the LEP languages such as Spanish and Vietnamese because there are approximately 6 million people who speak these two languages.

I don't know how this would affect the obscure languages like Tagalog but that is an excellent point you brought up! Thanks for being so perceptive!

Thanks!


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