HCA Interpreter COVID19 Policy


This policy can be downloaded in PDF.

Interpreter Services COVID-19 Interpreter Exposure Program Policy 


The Health Care Authority (HCA) Interpreter Services Program has implemented a policy for interpreters who have been exposed to COVID-19 and those who have tested positive for COVID-19. Due to the risk to public health, an interpreter who has been exposed to COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19 will not be eligible to complete in-person appointments until the individual has successfully completed Washington State Department of Health’s isolation or quarantine recommendations.


Terms in this policy have the following meanings:

DOH:  Washington State Department of Health

Exposed: An individual is exposed to COVID-19 if they were in close contact to someone with COVID-19. Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of the infected person for more than 15 minutes. An individual is also  considered exposed if anyone living with them has COVID-19.

In-Person Interpreting: A language access provider (LAP) who is physically present with the individuals needing language access services during an appointment.

Interpreter: A Language Access Provider (LAP) who completes HCA Medicaid appointments through the HCA Contract.

Isolation: Isolation means staying home and away from others when contagious for an infectious disease. Everyone with COVID-19 should isolate to prevent the spread of infection, whether or not they have symptoms.

Positive: An individual who has had a COVID-19 test and has been told they are positive for the virus, whether or not they are showing symptoms.

Quarantine: Quarantine means staying home away from others for the recommended period of time after exposure to a contagious disease. The time spent in quarantine is the period of time after exposure during which illness symptoms would develop. Quarantine becomes isolation if a person develops COVID-like symptoms after exposure or tests positive for COVID-19.

Policy Requirements

If an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 or has been told by a public health official that they have COVID-19, they are required by DOH to isolate themselves for the recommended period of time to prevent further spread of the virus. An interpreter will not be permitted to provide in-person interpretation until they have satisfactorily completed DOH’s isolation guidelines.

a.   An individual can end home isolation when:
i.      It has been at least 24 hours with no fever without using fever-reducing medications AND
ii.     The individual’s symptoms have improved AND
iii.    It has been at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared.

b.   If an individual tested positive for COVID-19, but has not had any symptoms, the individual canend home isolation and resume accepting in-person jobs when:
i.      It has been at least 10 days since the date of collection of the individuals’ positiveCOVID-19 test, AND
ii.     The individual had no subsequent illness

If an individual thinks they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or has been notified that they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 they should stay home and away from others. They should check themselves for fever, cough, and shortness of breath for 14 days from the last day they had close contact with the person who had COVID-19. The individual should not go to work or school, and should avoid public places for 14 days (self-quarantine). An interpreter will not be permitted to provide in-person interpretation until they have satisfactorily completed DOH’s isolation guidelines.

Action Required

When Universal Language becomes aware that an interpreter has tested positive or has been exposed to COVID- 19, they must prevent the interpreter from accepting any further in-person jobs from the point of awareness until the end of the isolation/quarantine period. Universal Language must provide notice to the interpreter within 24 hours of becoming aware of an exposure or positive test and work with them to transition any in-person jobs to video or telephone appointments. Universal Language will use the following language to communicate the COVID-19 policy to the affected interpreter.

a.   “Department of Health guidelines regarding testing positive for COVID-19 require individuals who have confirmed positive tests, or who have been notified that they have been exposed to COVID-19, must self-isolate/quarantine for the DOH recommended period of time. Due to these guidelines Universal will immediately remove affected interpreter from all in-person jobs and put the in-person jobs back on the portal for other interpreters to pick up. Links regarding Washington State’s Department of Health’s guidelines have been attached below for your convenience. In order to provide safety and health measures to HCA clients, interpreters will not be permitted to accept in-person HCA/Medicaid interpretation jobs during this isolation/quarantine period. If you have been identified as having COVID-19 or being exposed to COVID-19 please reach out immediately to Interpreter@ulsonline.net for additional information about tracing. It is our responsibility to notify any facilities or provider offices where you completed an in-person appointment.”

b.   Universal Language must notify HCA as soon as the notification has been sent out.

c.   Universal Language will send the notification to the Interpreter Services Inbox.