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HHS Seeking Obamacare Marketplace Translation Services for Over 100 Languages

1:42 PM, Aug 8, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
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News broke Wednesday that, even as the October 1 deadline for Obamacare "marketplaces" approaches, training requirements for Obamacare "navigators" were being scaled back by one-third. With less than two months remaining, the Obama administration is also facing increasing pressure to make sure data privacy and security concerns are addressed with the new system.

Now the Department of Health and Human Services is seeking to fill another need relating to the operation of the exchanges: translation services. On Monday, HHS posted a notice looking for small business sources to provide "Telephone Interpretation and Written Document Translation Services" for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services's (CMS) 24 x 7 Medicare contact center as well as CMS's Health Insurance Marketplace call center. Among the list of fourteen quite stringent requirements (emphasis added):

1. Effectively provide 24x7 oral over-the-phone interpretation services in any language (supporting at least 100 languages)...

2. Ensure appropriate capacity to handle at least 100 languages 24x7, including Spanish and have the capacity to handle approximately 50,000 calls per year...

4. Maintain the confidentiality of all interpretations; protect the integrity of information with customer person-sensitive information including Personal Health Information and Personally Identifiable information (personal health records, etc) while handling calls, and adhere to all applicable federal Privacy and Security acts, especially the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Privacy Act...

6. Ensure interpreters are trained and competent in healthcare and health insurance terminology and provide accurate interpretations in support of CMS's customers and stakeholders...

The notice includes a list of the languages for which services would be required:

HHS is not actually requesting proposals or quotes yet for this service; rather, "[t]he information from this market research will assist the Government in determining the appropriate acquisition method, including whether a [service-disabled veteran owned small business, HUBZone small business, small disadvantaged business, veteran-owned small business, and women-owned small business] set-aside is possible."

Interested businesses must respond by August 14th.

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