Presenter J Louisa Benitez

Foreign Language Interpreting and Administration

As a Washington State Certified Spanish and Portuguese Interpreter since the 1990's, I began networking with other interpreters in 1994. For more than two decades as an Interpreter Services Referral Agency Owner I have processed communication between healthcare organizations, law enforcement, school districts and a variety of government agencies and businesses - and the Foreign Language Interpreters who serve them. I have been considered a leader in the Interpreter Services industry in shaping how interpreters are viewed and treated as professionals. I participated in several "firsts" in the Pacific Northwest, including developing of one of the first authorized medical interpreter tests on behalf of interpreters serving the Department of Social and Health Services in 1995, participating in early forums concerning interpreter services, testifying in our state Capitol about foreign language interpreter services, and assisting with client-supported Interpreter Training. I have also assisted DSHS and Hopelink in training both medical and social services providers regarding compliance issues concerning the use of interpreters and their compliance with JCAHO and Risk Management protocol.

Our Interpreter Referral Agency was the first in the Pacific Northwest to develop an acceptable Interpreter HIPAA agreement in response to the passage of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

I have been a panel speaker at Washington's WASCLA Summit V, “Ensuring Language Access in the 21st Century: Striving for Excellence” (CEU and CLE offered), speaking to interpreters, attorneys, and medical administrators on "Sensible Contracting: Understanding Contractual Relationships in the Interpreter Services Industry; Considerations for Interpreters, Agencies, and Providers". Included in this summit were other top-notch presenters that have led the country in a variety of interpreter services issues - from both the National Council on Interpreting in Healthcare and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department and the Enforcement Committee of the Federal Interagency Working Group on Limited English Proficiency.

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