On May 18, 2016 the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities Final Rule implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. While most of the provisions of the Final Rule went into effect on July 18th, covered entities still have until October 16th to comply with the notice requirements for individuals with limited English proficiency.
Section 1557 builds on Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975. As such, organizations may be familiar with certain requirements under Section 1557 or may already have some provisions in place. Below we summarize some action steps for compliance with the Section 1557 Final Rule:
- Review interpreter services for individuals with LEP to assure individuals meet requirements to be qualified as an interpreter
- Review translations services for individuals with LEP to assure individuals meet requirements to be qualified as a translator
- Review communication services available for individuals with disabilities to assure effective communication
- Review physical accessibility of facilities for individuals with disabilities
- Review program activities provided through electronic and information technology (such as online appointment and electronic billing systems) to assure accessibility for individuals with disabilities
- Designate an employee as the Section 1557 compliance coordinator:
- Adopt or review/revise current grievance procedures to incorporate appropriate due process standards and provide for prompt, equitable resolution of grievances alleging noncompliance with Section 1557 or the Final Rule.
- Post nondiscrimination statements and taglines related to availability of services for individuals with LEP:
- On organization’s website: In a conspicuous location on the covered entity’s website accessible from the home page of the covered entity’s website.
- At sites: In conspicuous physical locations where the entity interacts with the public
- In significant publications targeted to patients and members of the public; small-size publications must include a nondiscrimination statement and taglines in at least the top two languages spoken by individuals with LEP of the relevant state(s)
For more details on compliance requirements under the Section 1557 Final Rule, check out our recent Compliance Connection article on the topic, “Compliance with Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act: New Requirements Regarding.”