Medical Center Settles Discrimination Claims against Deaf Patients with Three-Year Voluntary Resolution Agreement
January 3, 2018 | Strategic Insights for Health System
A Vermont medical center has entered into a voluntary resolution agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to settle allegations that it violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to ensure appropriate communication with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Title III of ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in places of public accommodation and commercial facilities. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Vermont also joined in the agreement. The agreement also alleged violations of Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which prohibits discrimination in healthcare programs on the basis of disabilities and other factors. OCR began an investigation of the medical center's practices for the individuals with disabilities after DOJ received two separate complaints alleging that the medical center discriminated against individuals who are deaf and use American Sign Language as their primary means of communication.