URGENT: Legislators Need to Hear from Health Care Interpreters!

February 6th, 2024

The short legislative session has officially started! Our health care interpreters bill (SB 1578) is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Health Care Committee this Wednesday (2/7/2024) at 1 pm.  

SB 1578 will direct OHA to establish an online scheduling and billing system that allows the State to pay interpreters directly for Medicaid and other state-funded appointments rather than going through private language agencies. Over the last couple of years, we’ve proposed higher rates, two-hour minimums, and reasonable cancelation policies to the State of Oregon, but they have refused to support our work until we pass legislation that creates a state-based scheduling and billing system.

We urgently need your support to continue advocating for health care interpreters and health equity. Please take two minutes to send a letter to the Senate Healthcare Committee asking to VOTE YES on SB 1578.

SB 1578 is scheduled for a public hearing this Wednesday, February 7th, at 1 pm. Legislators need to hear directly from health care interpreters and not private language agencies who put profits over patients and interpreters. Please consider signing up to testify! Testimonies will be 2 minutes, and we can help you prepare.

Did you miss the legislative launch? Here is what you need to know about SB 1578:

SB 1578 will:

  • Direct OHA to establish and maintain an online scheduling and billing system that allows the State to pay interpreters directly for state-funded appointments. Allows the state to use an existing platform if desired.

  • Give interpreters the option to choose between contracting directly with the state or work through language companies rather than limiting us to work with language companies only

  • Give Health Care Interpreters a say in rates, mileage reimbursements, and cancelation policies by giving us the ability to collectively negotiate a contract directly with the State of Oregon

  • Establish a Healthcare Interpreter Retention Fund to keep interpreters in the profession.

  • Have a team responsible for outreach to supplement the online system (for example, for a last-minute emergency appointment)


  • Does not change our independent contractor status

  • Does not replace language agencies for all interpretation appointments

  • Does not limit our ability to work with the agencies we want to work with

  • Does not get rid of remote interpreting

State representatives must hear from us about the challenges we experience as health care interpreters. Passing this bill is vital to winning a contract with better pay for HCIs.


Share Your Story - Fill Out Our Testimony Form:

  • Can’t make it to either of these two events? Your personal experiences and stories still matter! By filling out our testimony form, you can share how the lack of fair pay and a say in working conditions, including cancelation policies, has affected your work. These stories will be presented to lawmakers, helping them understand the real-world impact and urgency of implementing an interpreter portal.

Health Care Interpreters Lobby Day on February 21st:

  • Attend our Lobby Day event to voice your support for the interpreter portal bill. This is a unique opportunity to engage directly with policymakers and make them aware of the positive impact this legislation can have on your profession and the communities you serve. Sign up now!

  • Send an email to the Senate Health Care Committee:

  • It takes less than 2 minutes, and this email will also serve as public testimony!

In solidarity,

Oregon Interpreters in Action