Contact: HHS Office for Civil Rights
February 13, 2015
Michigan Medical Care Facility Commits to Race Non-Discrimination in Staff Assignments
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has entered into a Voluntary Resolution Agreement with Shiawassee County Medical Care Facility in Corunna, Michigan to resolve issues raised in OCR’s review of the Medical Care Facility’s compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI prohibits discrimination in the administration of any federally-funded program based on race, color, or national origin.
Shiawassee County Medical Care Facility is a 136-bed skilled nursing facility that is Medicare and Medicaid certified. OCR initiated a review to determine Shiawassee’s compliance with Title VI in its assignment of hospital staff to care for patients. OCR’s Title VI review was prompted by a nursing staff instruction to not assign African-American staff to a Caucasian Resident.
During the investigation, OCR found that changes were needed in Shiawassee’s policies and procedures to bring them into full compliance with Title VI. Shiawassee cooperated throughout OCR’s review and made the necessary revisions in its policies and procedures. To implement fully the prohibition against consideration of race in staff assignments, Shiawassee signed a Resolution Agreement with OCR which calls for the appointment of a Title VI Coordinator who will be charged with overseeing Shiawassee’s overall compliance with Title VI and will have special responsibilities for the investigation and adjudication of any Title VI complaints filed internally with Shiawassee. In addition, Shiawassee will train its workforce on relevant aspects of Title VI. The Agreement remains in effect for two years and requires Shiawassee to submit reports to OCR regarding compliance.
The OCR investigation and Resolution Agreement emphasize the need for health care providers of all types to ensure their compliance with Title VI and, in particular, to refrain from making any staff assignments based on racial considerations. These obligations are consistent with OCR’s longstanding “Guidelines for Compliance of Hospitals with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” which make clear that assignment of hospital staff based on the racial preference of the patient violates Title VI. This Agreement follows a similar Agreement in August 2014 between OCR and Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan to resolve an incident of staff assignment based on a patient’s racial preference. Read the Hurley Agreement here.
To learn more about non-discrimination and health information privacy laws, your civil rights and privacy rights in health care and human service settings, and to find information on filing a complaint, visit us at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr.