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Recent Civil Rights Resolution Agreements & Compliance Reviews

Following a complaint investigation or compliance review, OCR sometimes determines if it is necessary to negotiate resolution agreements requiring covered entities to take needed corrective action to comply with Federal civil rights laws. These agreements can be far-reaching, statewide agreements that call for a systemic change in the way a state does business, or they may cover a single healthcare provider or hospital. Some recent examples are listed below:

  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has entered into an agreement with OCR to ensure that individuals with disabilities can access information provided by CMS and its contractors in CMS programs. The Commitment to Action resolves two complaints filed by a national advocacy program concerning access for individuals who are blind or have low vision to communications in the Medicare program. In the comprehensive agreement, CMS further commits to ensuring effective communication for all individuals with disabilities in all CMS programs. (8/20/14)

  • Mee Memorial Hospital of California agrees to expand and improve accessibility for persons with limited English proficiency (LEP).  MMH consists of a main hospital and five clinics serving approximately 50,000 people throughout 2,500 square miles in rural California. (8/21/14)

  • Williamston House, a North Carolina assisted living facility, agrees to change policies and procedures in order to accept residents with HIV/AIDS (8/20/14)

  • Hurley Medical Center, a public safety net hospital and medical center which provides roughly two-thirds of all uncompensated medical care in the Flint, Michigan area, has entered into a Voluntary Resolution Agreement with OCR to ensure compliance with Title VI’s prohibition of race discrimination in staff assignments for patient care.
  • Surgeon agrees to treat HIV-positive patients after losing federal funding. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had announced the termination of Medicaid funding to a California surgeon who intentionally discriminated against an HIV-positive patient by refusing to perform much needed back surgery. An order, issued by the HHS Departmental Appeals Board, concluded that the surgeon violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits disability discrimination by health care providers who receive federal funds. Read the HHS Departmental Appeals Board Decision (PDF - 67 KB) [07/18/13] | Read the OCR Violation Letter of Findings | Read the Post-Termination Compliance Agreement (7.28.14) | Read the Bulletin (7.29.14)

  • OCR and the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Family and Children's Services (MDHS-DFCS), have signed a voluntary resolution agreement to expand language assistance services for persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP).  Under the agreement with OCR, MDHS-DFCS will take a comprehensive approach to ensure persons with LEP have meaningful and timely access to a variety of critical services, activities and programs. Read the Voluntary Resolution Agreement (PDF - 344KB) | Read the Bulletin (PDF- 208KB) [04/15/14]

  • OCR launches national compliance review initiative, “Advancing Effective Communication in Critical Access Hospitals.” This initiative will work to ensure that language access is provided so that limited English proficient (LEP) individuals can effectively participate in, and benefit from, health care services at critical access hospitals. These hospitals along with community and migrant health centers play a critical role in providing health care to LEP individuals in rural and isolated areas. Read OCR’s compliance review report, “Advancing Effective Communication in Critical Access Hospitals"  (PDF - 968KB)|Read the Bulletin (PDF -274KB) [Date: 04/30/13]

  • OCR has entered into a settlement agreement with Genesis HealthCare, one of the nation’s largest providers of senior care. Read the OCR Settlement Agreement (PDF - 1.00MB) | Read the HHS Press Release [Date: 03/05/13] | Read the Violation Letter of Findings [Update: 07/28/13]

  • OCR has entered into agreements with the Cattaraugus County Department of Aging (CCDOA) in NY and the District of Columbia Children and Family Services Agency (DCCFSA) to ensure that individuals in NY and DC who are deaf and hard of hearing have equal access to human service programs and activities. Read the CCDOA Agreement (PDF -917 KB)| Read the DCCFSA Agreement (PDF - 1.12MB) | Read the HHS press release [Date: 02/08/13]

  • OCR and Memorial Health System in Colorado Springs, CO have signed a voluntary resolution agreement to ensure effective communication with and improve the quality of services for persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, or limited English proficient.  This voluntary resolution agreement demonstrates OCR’s commitment to enforcing federal laws that prohibit discrimination by health care and human service providers. Read the Voluntary Resolution Agreement (PDF - 262KB) | Read the Bulletin (PDF - 57.8KB) [Date: 11/07/12]

  • OCR and Shenandoah Memorial Hospital (SMH) of Woodstock, Virginia have signed a voluntary resolution agreement to expand language assistance services for limited English proficient (LEP) persons. Language assistance services are essential to meaningful access to quality health care.  If providers and patients do not understand each other clearly and cannot communicate effectively, quality of care is compromised, sometimes even jeopardized.  This voluntary resolution agreement demonstrates the benefits of hospitals working cooperatively with OCR to ensure Title VI compliance. Read the Voluntary Resolution Agreement (PDF – 828KB) | Read the Bulletin (PDF – 55.5KB) [Date: 8/28/12]

  • North Carolina Department Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) - The State of North Carolina has voluntarily agreed to screen and assess applicants and participants for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to ensure that qualified individuals with disabilities receive reasonable accommodations in compliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  Reasonable accommodations may include job training and supports for a longer time period than what was typically afforded, modified work experience programs at public agencies or nonprofits, or in-depth services from the North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Read the Settlement Agreement

  • OCR has entered into a voluntary resolution agreement with the Town of Simsbury, Connecticut mandating that the town recreation department revise its policy to comply with Title II requirements, conduct an assessment of the needs of children with diabetes entering its summer camp programs on a case by case basis, and work with families to provide reasonable modifications for children requiring diabetes-related care while attending camp programs. The agreement follows an OCR investigation into a complaint filed by a father on behalf of his eight year old daughter, alleging that that the Town failed to provide reasonable modifications to its summer camp program to allow camp staff to administer blood glucose testing and, if necessary, provide diabetes-related care to the child participating in the program. Read the Resolution Agreement and CAP | Read the HHS Press Release | How to file a Civil Rights complaint [Date: 4/16/12]

  • OCR has entered into a settlement agreement with Advanced Dialysis Centers (ADC), in Randallstown, Maryland, to settle a complaint against ADC for violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. In the agreement, ADC commits to revise it policies and procedures to comply with Section 504 and to provide staff comprehensive training on their obligations to provide services without discrimination to qualified persons with disabilities. This settlement follows an OCR investigation into a complaint filed by the sister of a deaf patient at ADC who alleged that the facility repeatedly failed to provide adequate sign language interpreter services essential to her brother understanding important medical decisions and treatment options. Read the Settlement Agreement | Read the HHS Press Release [Date: 2/17/12]

  • OCR has entered into a settlement agreement with the St. Mercy Medical Center (Mercy), in Fort Smith, Arkansas, to settle a complaint against Mercy for violation of Section 504 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  In the agreement, Mercy commits to revise it policies and procedures to comply with Section 504 and to provide staff comprehensive training on their obligations to provide services without discrimination to qualified persons with disabilities. This settlement follows an OCR investigation into a complaint filed by an individual whose service animal was not allowed to accompany him into the hospital.  Read the Settlement Agreement | Read the HHS Press Release

  • OCR entered into a resolution agreement with the East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System (ETMC) to ensure that deaf or hard of hearing patients receiving care will be screened and provided with sign language interpreter services when necessary for effective communication. After investigating the complaint of a deaf patient who alleged she had not been provided a sign language interpreter while receiving prenatal care at ETMC Crocket Hospital, OCR issued a letter of concern to ETMC stating that deficiencies in their policies could result in the provision of auxiliary aids and services to deaf patients in an arbitrary or inconsistent manner.  Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, recipients of federal financial assistance must provide auxiliary aids and services to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.  Read the Letter of Concern | Resolution Agreement | Read the HHS Press Release

  • OCR has entered into a settlement agreement with the Citizen’s Medical Center (CMC), in Victoria, Texas, to settle a complaint against CMC for violation of Section 504 and the ADA.  In the agreement, CMC commits to a corrective action plan aimed at remedying its discriminatory policy and to provide staff training and implementation of a patient grievance procedure. This settlement follows an OCR investigation into a complaint filed by the parent of a child with autism, who was denied an opportunity to participate in CMC’s child care program based on the child’s disability.  Under Section 504 and the ADA, a qualified individual with a disability may not be excluded from a program based on a perception that the individual may need a reasonable modification for his disability. Read the Letter of Findings and Settlement Agreement | Read the HHS Press Release

  • A settlement agreement was reached with Bertrand Chaffee Hospital in Springville, New York after OCR found them in violation of Section 504 and the ADA. OCR found that the Hospital engaged in unlawful discrimination on the basis of disability by failing to provide a patient who was deaf, with a sign language interpreter while she was treated at the Hospital. Section 504 and the ADA require that effective communication be provided to people with disabilities including providing sign language interpreting. Read the Settlement Agreement| Read the HHS Press Release

  • OCR has entered into a voluntary resolution agreement with the Rhode Island Department of Human Services (RIDHS) that helps ensure that clients with limited English proficiency - those who have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English - will have improved access to RIDHS programs and services, including access to Medicaid and other social services programs. Under the agreement, RIDHS will also ensure that current and new staff will receive comprehensive training on a provider’s duties under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The resolution agreement resolves a complaint filed with OCR by the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and a concurrent review conducted by OCR to determine whether RIDHS was in compliance with an open agreement it had with OCR to improve language access services for RIDHS’ LEP clients. Read the Voluntary Resolution Agreement | Read the HHS Press Release

  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) entered into an Agreement with OCR to resolve a complaint alleging that it violated provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when UPMC decided to close Braddock Hospital in January of this year.  Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin by recipients of Federal financial assistance such as UPMC, which receives funds from HHS. Read the Voluntary Compliance Agreement | Read the HHS Press Release(Spanish)

  • Ramapo Manor Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Suffern, New York (Ramapo) entered into a Settlement Agreement with OCR that ensures that individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing will be provided equal access to its facility and will be provided interpreter services when necessary for effective communication.  Ramapo is a 203-bed nursing facility that cares for long-term chronically ill patients and short-term post acute rehabilitative patients. The Agreement resolves a Violation Letter of Findings that OCR had issued under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by recipients of Federal financial assistance. Read the Settlement Agreement | Read the Letter of Findings | Read the HHS Press Release(Spanish -

  • OCR and the Administration for Children and Families at HHS have entered into a voluntary resolution agreement with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) that helps ensure that children in Washington State in need of welfare and protective services will not be segregated based on race, color, or national origin.  DSHS entered into the agreement following an OCR compliance review conducted under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 1808(c) of the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996.  The compliance review focused on the Office of African American Children’s Services (OAACS), located in Seattle, Washington.  Following its review, OCR notified DSHS of concerns that race was the sole factor for determining whether children in DSHS Region 4, which encompasses King County, Washington, were referred for services at OAACS. As a result, DSHS voluntarily reorganized OAACS, renamed it the Martin Luther King, Jr. Office, and agreed to additional measures to ensure nondiscrimination against children in need of these services. Read the Voluntary Resolution Agreement | Read the HHS Press Release(Spanish - PDF)

  • Under a voluntary compliance agreement between the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) and OCR, DCF will ensure that when Wisconsin families seek income assistance and help finding employment, they will have an equal opportunity to participate in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.  Pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), DCF will ensure that sanctions (i.e., reductions in income assistance) are not applied to TANF participants in a discriminatory manner based on race, color, or national origin (including limited English proficiency).  Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), DCF will screen and assess TANF applicants and participants to ensure that qualified individuals with disabilities receive reasonable accommodations, which may include job training and supports for a longer time period than what is typically afforded, sign language interpreters, or in-depth services from the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Read the Voluntary Compliance Agreement  Read the “Wisconsin Works (W-2) Sanctions Study"  Read the HHS Press Release(Spanish - PDF)

  • The Windsor Rosewood Care Center, LLC (WRCC), located in Contra Costa County, California, has agreed to provide individuals with HIV/AIDS equal access to its skilled nursing facility, as required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  This Settlement Agreement resolves a discrimination complaint filed with OCR by the Contra Costa HIV Legal Services Project.  After investigating the complaint, OCR issued a Violation Letter of Finding to WRCC, concluding that when it was owned and operated by Helios Healthcare, LLC, the skilled nursing facility violated Section 504 by denying admission to a Medicaid beneficiary because he was HIV-positive.  Read the Letter of Finding  Read the Settlement Agreement  Read OCR Director's "Guest Blog" on AIDS.gov  Read the HHS Press Release(Spanish- PDF)

  • Orthopedic Institute of Pennsylvania (OIP) entered into a Settlement Agreement with OCR to provide deaf or hard-of-hearing patients with sign language interpreters and other auxiliary aids when needed for effective communication, as required by Federal law for effective communication. OIP is orthopedic surgical practice with 127 staff in six offices. Read the Settlement Agreement  Read the Letter of Finding  Read the HHS Press Release  (Spanish - PDF)

  • University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics (UUHC) entered into a Resolution Agreement with OCR to ensure that patients with hearing, vision or speech disabilities will be screened and provided with auxiliary aids and services, including sign language interpreters, as required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  The UUHC healthcare system, located in Salt Lake, Davis, Wasatch, Tooele, and Utah Counties, provides care for residents of Utah and five surrounding states, serving more than 850,000 patients annually. Read the Resolution Agreement  Read the HHS Press Release (SpanishPDF)

  • Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) entered into a Settlement Agreement with OCR to provide effective communication as required by Federal law to an estimated 3 million deaf and hard-of-hearing persons. All deaf and hard-of-hearing persons using DCF's programs and services will be provided with sign language interpreters or other auxiliary aids and services as necessary for effective communication. Read the Settlement Agreement  Read the Summary of the Settlement Agreement  Read the Letter of Findings  Read the HHS Press Release(Spanish - PDF)
  • An Austin, Texas orthopaedic surgeon, entered into a Settlement Agreement with OCR to ensure that individuals living with HIV/AIDS have equal access to appropriate medical treatment. The Settlement Agreement resolves the Violation Letter of Finding, which OCR issued to the surgeon after he declined to perform knee surgery on an HIV-positive patient. The orthopaedic surgeon’s practice group sees an average of 200 patients per week.  Read the Letter of Finding   Read the Settlement Agreement   Read the HHS Press Release

  • Montgomery County Department of Social Services (MCDSS) in New York entered into a Voluntary Resolution Agreement with OCR to ensure that the language assistance needs of their clients are properly assessed and that competent, timely language access services are provided to limited English proficient (LEP) individuals.  MCDSS provides or administers a wide range of publicly funded social services and cash assistance programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, food stamps, Medicaid, emergency assistance, general relief, adult protective services and personal care services. MCDSS programs reach approximately 28,000 people.  Read the Resolution Agreement    Read the HHS Press Release(Spanish - PDF)

  • Mid-Maryland Musculoskeletal Institute (MMI) in Frederick, MD, entered into a Voluntary Resolution Agreement with OCR to ensure that persons who are deaf or hard-of -hearing receive interpreter services when necessary for effective communication.  MMI is an 11-physician orthopedic practice with three offices, seeing 1,000 patients monthly  Read the Resolution Agreement   Read the HHS Press Release

  • Fort Washington Medical Center in Prince George’s County, MD, entered into a Settlement Agreement with OCR to ensure that persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing receive interpreter services when necessary for effective communication. Fort Washington Medical Center annually admits more more than 2,800 patients and sees more than 45,000 patients in its Emergency Room  Read the Letter of Findings   Read the Settlement Agreement  Read the HHS Press Release

  • Alaska's Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) and the Anchorage Pioneer Home (APH), an assisted living facility serving over 160 seniors, entered into a Settlement Agreement with OCR to ensure that APH residents with disabilities have equal access to transportation services. The settlement resolves the Violation Letter of Finding which OCR issued to DHSS and APH in January 2009.  Read the Letter of Finding  Read the Settlement Agreement  Read the HHS Press Release

  • New York's Schenectady County Department of Social Services (SCDSS), signed a Voluntary Resolution Agreement to ensure that individuals with physical disabilities receive equal access to its services and office buildings. SCDSS provides services to a county population of 150,818.  Read the Resolution Agreement  Read the HHS Press Release

  • State of Hawaii Department of Human Services (serving a state population of more than 1.2 million) entered into  a statewide Settlement Agreement to ensure that limited English proficient persons receive equal access to its programs and services, including medical care for low-income persons.  Read the Resolution Agreement   Read the HHS Press Release

  • State of Georgia entered into a statewide Olmstead Settlement Agreement to ensure that more than 2,500 persons in Georgia with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental illness institutionalized in Georgia's seven public psychiatric hospitals and mental retardation facilities will have the opportunity to live in their communities with appropriate supports tailored to meet their individualized needs. (July 2008) Read the Resolution Agreement   Read the Summary of the Resolution Agreement  Read the HHS PRess Release

  • Arizona Hospital and Trauma Center agreed to ensure that patients who are deaf or hard-of hearing receive timely auxiliary aids, including sign language interpreters or video interpretation. The Hospital and Trauma Center provides services to 150,000 patients annually. Read the Resolution Agreement

  • New York Social Services Agency (serving 4025 food stamp users monthly) agreed to ensure that clients who are deaf or hard-of hearing receive timely auxiliary aids, including sign language interpreters. The Social Service Agency provides 4,025 beneficiaries with food stamp on a monthly basis.  Read the Agreement

  • New York Hospital and Trauma Center (serving 56,000 patients yearly) agreed to ensure that patients who are deaf or hard-of hearing receive timely auxiliary aids, including sign language interpreters or video interpretation services. The Hospital and Trauma Center assist more than 56,000 patients yearly.  Read the Agreement

  • Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance MDTA agreed to ensure that people with learning disabilities have equal access to participate in and benefit its Massachusetts’ Employment Services Program.  MDTA provides services to more than 44,713 beneficiaries annually. Read the Agreement