The Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) oversees work injury claims in Washington State. Every L&I claim is unique. Moreover, L&I claims can be very challenging to work injury claimants. Some of the challenges are even more frustrating for workers who do not speak English well.
Interpreting services for L&I claims
L&I offers a variety of interpretation services for people with a workers compensation claim. Previously, interpretation services were available primarily for in-person appointments. For example, appointments or meetings such as a medical consult and vocational provider conversations. To set them up, providers go through the InterpretingWorks online system.
With COVID, L&I announced that interpreters who provide in-person services must be vaccinated. This is in line with the Washington State Governor’s mandate. In fact, the mandate requires most state employees, healthcare workers and long term care workers to be fully COVID-19 vaccinated by October 18, 2021. Moreover, under the mandate – employees, contractors, volunteers, and providers of goods and services in a healthcare setting must also get the vaccine. Hence, the mandate includes L&I interpreters.
L&I interpretation services for online meetings
With COVID-19, we’ve seen a surge in virtual, video, and telephonic appointments in L&I claims. Obviously, these kinds of appointments also have interpreting needs. Consequently, L&I provides telephonic and video interpretation services through CTS LanguageLink. The services are available whenever in-person interpretation services are impossible or unnecessary. Interestingly, CTS LanguageLink has been providing statewide interpretation services for Washington State agencies since 1999. They offer over-the-phone interpretation as well as video services.
Setting up interpretation services for your L&I claim
As before, it’s up to the service provider to set up interpretation services when they need them. Providers can use the phone numbers below to set up CTS LanguageLink services. More explicltly:
- Medical providers should call 877-626-0678
- Vocational counselors should call 844-303-7212
- Activity coaches should call 844-303-5430
- Client relations providers should call 855-579-2704
First, service providers need to set up an account with CTS LanguageLink in order to access the services. For signup, providers can establish an account by emailing their L&I provider number or ID, name, and email address to ClientRelations@Language.Link. Then, the company will verify your provider information before they activate your account. Once active, you can utilize the services whenever you need them.
The viewpoint of an injured worker
I’m a workers’ compensation attorney in Washington State representing work injury claimants. I’m always concerned that people understand what’s occurring in their L&I claim. Also, it’s imperative for injured workers to be able to communicate effectively with service providers. Therefore, it always encourages me to see service providers utilizing interpreter services. Furthermore, I am very grateful to L&I for making these services easily accessible.