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Civil Rights News Releases & Bulletins

OCR Issues Guidance to Help Ensure Equal Access to Emergency Services and the Appropriate Sharing of Medical Information during Hurricane Dorian - September 3, 2019

HHS Office for Civil Rights Secures Agreement with Michigan State University for Systemic Changes to Resolve Investigation into Sexual Abuse by Larry Nassar - August 12, 2019

Maryland Orthopedic Practice Agrees to Provide Deaf 6-year-old a Qualified Interpreter - July 24, 2019

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR), has entered into a Voluntary Resolution Agreement with Mid-Maryland Musculoskeletal Institute (MMI). The agreement resolves the complaint, alleging MMI provided an unqualified sign language interpreter and did not ensure effective communication with a deaf patient, in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. MMI is an orthopedic practice in Maryland that provides a full-range of orthopedic services, including onsite physical therapy. MMI receives Federal financial assistance (FFA) through its participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs and is subject to the requirements of Section 504 and Section 1557.

** People using assistive technology may not be able to fully access information in this file. For assistance, contact the HHS Press Office at (202) 690-6343 or by emailing OCRMedia@hhs.gov.

OCR Provides Critical Technical Assistance to Ensure that Individuals with Disabilities Have Full and Equal Access to Health Care Services - June 27, 2019

OCR successfully provided technical assistance for individual language and medical services and thus improved the health care of an individual while improving the care of a medical facility.

HHS Proposes to Revise ACA Section 1557 Rule to Enforce Civil Rights in Healthcare, Conform to Law, and Eliminate Billions in Unnecessary Costs

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed regulatory reform related to regulations issued under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The proposed rule would maintain vigorous civil rights enforcement on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, and sex, while revising certain provisions of the current Section 1557 rule that a federal court has said is likely unlawful. The proposal also would relieve the American people of approximately $3.6 billion in unnecessary regulatory costs over five years.

OCR Resolves Disability Complaint of Individual Who Was Denied the Opportunity for Heart Transplant List Placement - February 12, 2019

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that it has successfully resolved a complaint against the University of North Carolina Health Care (UNC Health Care) system alleging that it unlawfully denied an individual the opportunity to be placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) list on the basis of their disability.  UNC Health Care is a public academic medical center comprised of North Carolina Memorial Hospital, North Carolina Children’s Hospital, North Carolina Neurosciences Hospital, and North Carolina Women’s Hospital.  

New HHS Checklist Helps First Responders Ensure Language Access and Effective Communication During Emergencies - December 10, 2018

Recent natural disasters have demonstrated the importance of ensuring accessibility to health and human services for everyone living in the United States, including individuals who are limited English proficient or with disabilities in need of interpretation and translation services.  HHS’ Office for Civil Rights led efforts by the HHS Language Access Steering Committee to develop a plain language checklist to help first responders provide services to individuals with limited English proficiency and individuals with disabilities during emergency response and recovery efforts, in accordance with federal civil rights laws.  The checklist includes recommendations, specific action steps, and resources to assist first responders in providing on-the-ground language assistance and communicating effectively in disasters.  Practical tips range from how to identify language needs in a disaster-impacted community to effectively utilizing interpreters.  

OCR Launches Public Education Campaign About Civil Rights Protections in Response to the National Opioid Crisis - October 25, 2018

Today, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched a public education campaign on civil rights protections in response to the national opioid crisis.  The materials inform the public about civil rights protections that may apply to a person in recovery from an opioid addiction and ensure that covered entities are aware of their obligation to comply with federal nondiscrimination laws.

OCR Issues Guidance to Help Ensure Equal Access to Emergency Services and the Appropriate Sharing of Medical Information During Hurricane Florence

In preparation for Hurricane Florence, OCR has issued a press release providing resources and effective practices to help emergency responders and officials effectively serve at-risk populations and ensure that the whole community is included in emergency response and recovery efforts.  OCR continues to coordinate with our sister agencies and federal partners to make sure that responsible officials are mindful of all segments of the community as they prepare for disaster response in the areas affected by Hurricane Florence.

The HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Administration for Community Living (ACL), and OCR, have jointly publish a report entitled “Ensuring Beneficiary Health and Safety in Group Homes Through State Implementation of Comprehensive Compliance Oversight” – January 17, 2018

OCR works with DOJ to ensure federally funded medical center provides communication services for deaf and hard of hearing patients - 12/21/2017

OCR Addresses National Origin Discrimination in Alabama Child Welfare Programs - 10/25/2017

HHS Office for Civil Rights Enters Into Agreement with Oklahoma Nursing Home to Protect Patients with HIV/AIDS from Discrimination - 9/08/17

Hurricane Harvey Response: OCR Identifies Practices and Resources for Emergency Responders/Officials to Help Ensure Individuals Have Equal Access to Emergency Services – 8/30/17

HHS OCR and the US Attorney’s Office of Connecticut Enter Agreement with UConn Health to Ensure Effective Communication – 1/03/17

Erie County of New York State Enters Agreement with HHS OCR to Ensure Availability of Language Assistance Services for Individuals with LEP – 12/22/16

Guidance for Ensuring Accessibility of Health Programs and Activities offered through Electronic Information Technology – 12/21/16

OCR Blog Post: ACA continues to break down barriers to health care for all Americans – 11/04/2016

OCR, Department of Justice and the Administration for Children and Families Release Title VI Joint Guidance Letter for Child Welfare Systems – 10/19/2016

OCR signs effective communication Dear Colleague Letter with the Health Resources and Services Administration – 8/30/2016

OCR issues report on its National HIV/AIDS Compliance Review Initiative – 7/13/2016

HHS Guidance and Resources for Long Term Care Facilities – 6/23/16

HHS finalizes rule to improve health equity under the Affordable Care Act - 5/13/16

Georgia Agrees to Ensure Equal Access for Individuals with Disabilities to Foster and Adoption Programs and Services – 1/11/16

OCR Launches Newly Redesigned Website - 01/06/16

OCR enters Agreement with Three Puerto Rico Hospitals to Ensure Access to Auxiliary Aids and Services - 10/26/15

OCR Issues Proposed Rule on Nondiscrimination under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act

Note that the comment period ended at midnight on November 9, 2015. The NPRM is available for review at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=HHS-OCR-2015-0006

HHS and DOJ Issue Disability Rights Technical Assistance on Child Welfare - 8/10/2015

Arizona Agrees to Improve Immigrant Access to Federal Public Benefits Programs - 7/16/15

Brooklyn Hospital Center Implements Non-Discriminatory Practices to Ensure Equal Care for Transgender Patients - 7/14/15

OCR signs Effective Communication Dear Colleague letter with Puerto Rico Hospital Association - 6/09/15

OCR and DOJ find discrimination against persons who are deaf and hard-of-hearing in Connecticut Hospital - 3/20/2015

Michigan Medical Care Facility Commits to Race Non-Discrimination in Staff Assignments - 2/13/2015

OCR and DOJ find disability discrimination in Mass. child welfare -1/29/15

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Content created by Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
Content last reviewed on September 3, 2019