Effective Communications in Healthcare: June 6

An “Informational Meeting on the ADA’s Effective Communication Requirements in Healthcare Settings” will take place, virtually, from 1pm to 4pm on Tuesday, June 6, 2023. A press release dated April 14, 2023 on the DOJ website refers healthcare providers and the public to a “Dear Colleagues” letter from Steven Gordon, Assistant United States Attorney. For reference, the letter includes a list of issues discovered during investigations of healthcare providers that have failed to comply with the ADA’s effective communication requirements. Mr. Gordon welcomes questions and relevant information prior to the June 6 meeting; see his letter for contact information.

Free Registration LINK for JUNE 6 Meeting >>

“Ensuring that healthcare providers are complying with the ADA by being accessible to individuals with communication disabilities is a critical mission of this Office,” said U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber. “We look forward to meeting with personnel from healthcare providers so that we can discuss the ADA’s effective communication requirements in healthcare settings.”

Excerpts from the “Dear Colleagues” Letter

“To assist the community, my office is organizing an online informational meeting for the public, including personnel at healthcare providers, on Tuesday, June 6, 2023 at 1 pm. We want to provide information on steps healthcare providers can take to comply with the ADA’s effective communication requirements and also provide an opportunity for questions and collaboration. We invite the public, including all personnel from healthcare providers to this meeting. To register for the meeting click here.

Title II and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-34 & 12181-89, prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability in a range of covered areas, including healthcare services. The ADA applies to all types of private and state and local government healthcare providers, including, but not limited to, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, urgent care centers, physicians, dentists, optometrists, mental health providers, and medical equipment providers. Further, the ADA applies to all services that covered entities provide, including in-person medical services, telehealth appointments and websites.

Pursuant to the ADA, healthcare providers are required to ensure that communication with people with disabilities is as effective as communication with people without disabilities. Healthcare providers are required to take affirmative steps including furnishing appropriate auxiliary aids and services, such as qualified sign language interpreters to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, accessible electronic technology to individuals who are blind or have low vision, and speech-to-speech transliterators for individuals who have speech disabilities. Further, healthcare providers may not decline to provide treatment to an individual solely because they have a disability and may need auxiliary aids and services.

The Department of Justice (“DOJ”), including this office, is committed to protecting the civil rights of individuals with communication disabilities. We have investigated and enforced the ADA against numerous healthcare providers due to their failures to comply with the ADA’s effective communication requirements.

For more information on the ADA, visit https://www.ada.gov or call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD).

If you have any questions or additional relevant information, please feel free to email me at steve.gordon@usdoj.gov or call me at (703) 299-3817. We look forward to speaking with you on June 6, 2023 at 1 pm.”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: