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Medicaid Communication Access Services

June 20, 2024

In 2019, the North Carolina Institute of Medicine partnered with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DSDHH) to study access barriers in health care for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind individuals. One of the barriers identified in the report, is the cost to providers of communication access services (e.g., sign language interpreters, real-time captioning).  

The Medicaid Communication Access service, created by DSDHH and the Division of Health Benefits, aims to address this barrier. Through this initiative, DSDHH will reimburse Medicaid-contracted providers for a variety of communication access services, such as sign language interpreters, Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) services (human generated live captioning), and more. Additionally, DSDHH can provide at no cost:

  • Pocketalker*: A personal sound amplification listening device that is a tool for communicating with hard of hearing individuals.
  • Support Service Provider (SSP) services for DeafBlind patients. The SSP provides guidance and transportation services for DeafBlind individuals.
  • Training and education to meet the needs of health care providers.

If you have provided communication access services for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind individuals in the past two years, we may be able to retroactively reimburse you for appointments that took place in an approved setting. 


If you are already registered, please share this information through your network of health care providers. If you are not registered, please complete this online registration form (which takes about three minutes) and start benefiting from this new service!

DSDHH can accept registrations from most Medicaid-contracted health care providers that provide outpatient services outside of a hospital environment. Examples of settings covered by this program include doctor appointments, eye exams, in-home health care, hospice services, mental and behavior health, and many more!

For more information about this service, or to share feedback and suggestions on making this a success, please contact DSDHH Medicaid Communication Access Coordinator David Litman at DSDHH.Medicaid.CommAccess@dhhs.nc.gov or (984) 884-1093 and visit our Medicaid Communication Access Service webpage.

*Disclaimer: DSDHH does not promote or endorse a specific commercially available product mentioned in this article.