Questions to Ask Your Language Services Provider about CMS Call Center Monitoring

Four people watching a woman present on CMS call center monitoring. A woman raises her hand to ask a question.
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You service Medicare Advantage beneficiaries, so you already know what a big deal the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) call center monitoring period is. And you know that your success on CMS calls depends, in part, on interpretation accuracy and connection time.

That’s why you shouldn’t leave your success on CMS test calls up to just any language service provider (LSP).

By asking your LSP the right questions about CMS and interpreting, you can suss out if they have the right mix of knowledge, process, and experience to nail those secret shopper calls. 

We’ve put together the questions for you below. Ask them, and you and your LSP will achieve CMS simpatico before, during, and after call monitoring period.

Experience with interpreting for CMS calls

CMS is its own beast, and you want an interpreting company with experience supporting those test calls. These questions will help you assess their mastery and knowledge of the process. 

Questions to ask your LSP to determine their experience with CMS calls:

  • What’s your familiarity with CMS regulations and Medicare Part C & D Star Ratings?
  • What’s your experience working with clients who handle CMS calls?
  • Have you been able to meet CMS requirements for your health plan clients?
  • Do you have an internal CMS specialist or a team specializing in CMS? 
  • How do you ensure your interpreters accurately interpret CMS questions?
  • Can you provide any references from your CMS clients?

Related: A Prepared Interpreting Services Company Can Help Health Plans Ace CMS’s Accuracy & Accessibility Study

Preparing interpreters, clients, and staff for CMS calls

Prepping for CMS’s Accuracy & Accessibility Study is a year-round endeavor. That commitment should be reflected in your LSP’s plans to keep their interpreters, staff, and clients informed about what to expect. You want to work with a company that doesn’t just pay lip service to CMS, but truly understands what it takes to shine.

Questions to ask your LSP to determine how they prepare their interpreters, clients, and staff:

  • What do you consider best practices for your clients to meet CMS requirements?
  • How do you ensure you have enough interpreters in the core CMS languages?
  • How and when do you start preparing for the CMS testing period?
  • What support do you give your interpreters to help them understand CMS requirements and protocols?
  • What level of support do you provide for your clients around CMS test call season?
  • How do you keep up with changes to CMS star rating guidelines? 

Performance on CMS calls

Being prepared for CMS calls is one thing, but you need to know that the LSP you partner with can deliver on their promise to excel. This will become clear in how they perform on your CMS calls, but you can learn a lot doing your due diligence while you’re vetting them.

Questions to ask your LSP to determine performance:

  • Is there a maximum number of minutes that you could handle during the CMS monitoring period? 
  • Do you have systems in place to identify and prioritize calls regulated by CMS? 
  • What’s your process to monitor interpreter availability, connection times, and accuracy of CMS calls?
  • What are your success rates and average connection times in each CMS language?
  • What’s your process for concerns with CMS calls?
  • What type and frequency of reporting do you provide on metrics such as language, average connection time, total call duration, etc.? Are these reports customizable for CMS calls?

Related: Get Ready for CMS Call Center Monitoring in 3 Easy Steps

If you have questions about interpreting and CMS no one can answer …

Send those questions our way!

We’ve got 12+ years of experience working side by side with health plans on CMS calls, and are happy to pass on our knowledge.

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