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Health Care Interpreter Requirements

As part of the passage of House Bill 2359 (2021), health care providers who are reimbursed with public funds are now required to work with health care interpreters certified by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). Qualified interpreters can be found in OHA's Health Care Interpreter Registry.

The law intends to ensure that people for whom English is a second language are able to receive the same quality health care as other Oregonians through access to high-quality interpreting services.

The law also lays out recordkeeping requirements for health care providers and interpreting services companies when they work with a health care interpreter. The OHA's rule, OAR 333-002-0250, and the Oregon Medical Board's rule, OAR 847-010-0140, outline the requirements for OMB licensees.

There are some exceptions provided in the rules:

  • The health care provider is proficient in the preferred language of the person with limited English proficiency.
  • The person with limited English proficiency has an interpreter they prefer to work with who is not on OHA's registry (such as a family member).
  • The health care provider tried to find an interpreter using OHA's registry, but no interpreters were available. See OHA's Guidance Document for Compliance with “Good Faith Effort" for more information.

For more information about this requirement, OHA's central registry, or health care interpreter services, visit the Health Care Interpreter Program website.