While you might not think an interpreting services company has anything to do with the CMS Star Ratings system, they actually do!
From around February to June, CMS performs their Accuracy & Accessibility Study. This study monitors Medicare Parts C and D call centers on the availability of interpreters, teletypewriter (TTY) functionality, and the accuracy of plan information. The Accuracy & Accessibility Study is one of several measurements used by CMS to calculate a plan’s overall star rating.
Health plans who service Medicare Advantage beneficiaries already pay close attention to interpretation quality and connection time in general, but their awareness reaches peak levels during the CMS call center monitoring period.
It’s for good reason, too — a health plan’s success on these metrics depend on the planning and preparation of their interpreting services company.
CLI’s CMS planning never quits
Interpretation companies that know the importance of the Accuracy & Accessibility Study don’t leave anything to chance. Like us. We work year-round to make sure our CMS clients get an interpreter quickly. And we make sure the interpreters we work with are prepared to interpret CMS questions with precision.
“I have heard nothing but positive comments from my customer service agents. They noticed a difference in service immediately since signing on with CLI. If your other prospective clients are smart, they will accept your proposal. We are thrilled that we made the switch.”— Katherine S., Operations Supervisor, Health Insurance Provider
To do this, we take a phased approach, and it looks something like this:
Phase 1: Before call center monitoring begins
Starting in December, we reach out to interpreters in the tested languages and distribute up-to-date resources. These resources outline the types of questions that CMS test callers could ask and the industry-specific terminology they could use. This helps our interpreters brush up on the CMS content.
We also begin internal test calls to make sure interpreters are ready and know what to look for, and start training our call center agents on CMS protocol. We closely monitor interpreter availability for the tested languages, ensuring that interpreters are quickly connected.
Phase 2: During call center monitoring
From February to June, we continue to engage with our interpreter base and conduct internal test calls. We also work closely with our CMS clients and hold calibration meetings to discuss interpreter performance.
In addition, our Quality Assurance Department makes itself openly available to the interpreters we contract with. They answer any questions an interpreter may have and offer guidance when requested.
Phase 3: After call center monitoring
After June, we continue to fine-tune our processes. This includes meeting with clients who have feedback on our performance. We also analyze our data on connection times, success rates, and service exceptions to determine how we can better our services.
We run campaigns to keep CMS calls top of mind for our interpreters, and review all related material released by CMS before the next testing season.
The right interpretation services agency can make a difference
We don’t just spend a few days preparing before CMS testing season begins. Effectively, we never stop! We want you to always remain compliant with CMS’s Accuracy & Accessibility Study and show your limited English proficient beneficiaries that you care about them via a high star rating.
While testing season can be stressful, know that you’re in the best hands with us when it comes to accuracy, quick connections, and CMS call center monitoring.
Originally published 2/28/2018Get Started with Our Language Access and CMS Guide