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July 20, 2023

Practicefirst: Federal Settlement Highlights Provider Responsibilities to Accommodate Deaf and Hearing Impaired Patients

Fran Ciardullo, special counsel, had her “Federal Settlement Highlights Provider Responsibilities to Accommodate Deaf and Hearing Impaired Patients” article published by Practicefirst Medical Management Solutions. The article focuses on a settlement agreement a health care practice entered into with the US Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan (DOJ) to resolve an alleged civil rights violation.

Fran’s article states that a patient who is deaf and utilizes ASL as her primary means of communication filed a complaint that “the practice on more than one occasion failed to provide her with qualified sign language interpreter services necessary for effective communication during her medical appointments and then informed her that they would no longer treat her due to the cost of providing a sign language interpreter.”

As a result of the complaint, the health care practice entered into a voluntary resolution agreement that has the following requirements:

  • Develop and implement effective policies and practices to ensure nondiscrimination and nonretaliation.
  • Undergo 18 months of monitoring by the OCR and DOJ.
  • Pay damages to the complainant.
  • Take immediate steps to provide effective communication.

Fran’s article suggests that health care providers review their policies and procedures as well as ensure all employees are properly trained to respond to requests for interpreters. 

Click here to read the full article. 


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