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For Providers of Health Care and Social Services

On this page, you will find:

Civil Rights Obligations of Covered Entities

Nondiscrimination laws enforced by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) prohibit discrimination and require covered entities to provide individuals an equal opportunity to participate in a program activity, regardless of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or (under certain conditions) religion or sex.

What is a Covered Entity?

A Covered Entity is any entity that receives federal financial assistance from the Department of Health and Human Services or is covered under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act as a program, service, or regulatory activity relating to the provision of health care or social services.

How do you know if you are not a Covered Entity under OCR jurisdiction in its enforcement of nondiscrimination laws?

If you receive some type of federal financial assistance from another federal department or agency but it does not include any HHS assistance, you are not a covered entity under OCR’s jurisdiction. You may also not be such a Covered Entity if you are a health care professional who accepts only Medicare Part B insurance payment. You may be subject to another Federal Civil Rights Agency nondiscrimination laws as they apply to your program or services. Follow this link to learn more about Federal Civil Rights enforcement agencies.

You may also want to reviewOCR's Compliance and Enforcement page and the Regulations and Nondiscrimination Laws enforced by OCR .

OCR Resources to Assist State and Local Agencies Comply with Civil Rights Laws:

  • Hospitals and Effective Communication – to assist state hospitals and other health care providers meet the communication needs of persons who have limited English proficiency and as well as persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing
  • Adoption/Foster Care –  to assist adoption and foster care agencies comply with regulations for nondiscrimination placement of a child
  • Limited English Proficiency (LEP) – to ensure effective linguistic services and programs for persons who have limited English proficiency (includes published guidance)
  • National Origin Discrimination – to assist agencies with benefit applications and other administrative procedures, to ensure they do not deter or deny eligible national origin groups from obtaining services
  • Community Living & Olmstead – to assist providers in serving persons with disabilities in the most integrated setting 
  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families – to assist providers in making their programs and services available without regard to a person’s race, color, national origin, disability, sex, age or religion.
  • Medicare Provider Certification – Medicare Certification Civil Rights Information Forms and Technical Assistance