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Advocacy News

HHS Responds to Inquiry about Implementing Translation Services

August 17, 2016

The ADA received a response from the Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to the Association’s questions about the agency’s new regulation implementing section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. The Aug. 15 letter from OCR Director Jocelyn Samuels answered many of our questions but more detail is needed. For example, the ADA is particularly concerned about the vagueness of the requirement for translation services.

The agency did not grant ADA’s request to postpone the implementation deadline for the new regulation, so we will continue to reach out to the agency to quickly address the remaining areas of concern. The ADA strongly supports the intent of Sec. 1557, which prohibits discrimination in health care on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability and sex, including discrimination based on pregnancy, gender identity and sex stereotyping, but the Association is concerned over the ambiguity of the OCR rule implementing the law.

The ADA last week sent out an action alert asking its members to contact their representatives in the House on this issue. As of late last week, the alert went to more than 46,000 grassroots ADA members, generating more than 2,600 emails to Capitol Hill.

To minimize the administrative burden for member dentists who are covered entities (those that receive federal health care funds from programs like Medicaid and CHIP), the ADA has prepared resources to aid in compliance with the rule, including an FAQ and checklist. More information is available at ADA.org/1557.

ADA staff will continue to seek greater clarification about the rule.