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Connecticut hospital fined in discrimination case resolution

January 23, 2017 The federal government investigated a Connecticut hospital to determine whether it violated laws that prohibit discrimination after a complaint was filed on behalf of a deaf patient, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The department's Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Connecticut entered into a voluntary resolution agreement with the John Dempsey Hospital, a subsidiary of the University of Connecticut Health Center, to "ensure effective communication with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing," according to a news release. The complaint alleged that UConn Health failed to provide timely auxiliary aids and services to effectively communicate with the patient during a visit to the hospital's emergency department. Under the agreement, UConn Health will pay the patient $20,000.

"According to the complaint, despite requesting services upon arrival, the complainant was not provided an interpreter or video remote interpreting services and relied on a companion to interpret during the hospital visit," according to the news release.
 
Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age and disability in federally funded health care. After an investigation and compliance review, UConn Health voluntarily entered the agreement and affirmed its compliance with Section 1557 and several other laws and statutes that prohibit discrimination within federally funded health care.

Under the agreement, UConn Health agreed to take steps to ensure the availability of auxiliary aids and services at the hospital, such as assigning a civil rights coordinator, adopting a grievance procedure and posting a notice and statement of nondiscrimination.

The Section 1557 final rule applies to dental practices that receive certain funding from HHS. For more information about Section 1557, visit the ADA Center for Professional Success at ADA.org/1557 or the website of the Office for Civil Rights.