HHS Civil Rights Office Ensures Deaf Accessibility

Hot Springs hospital agrees to provide hearing aids and sign language charts.

An Arkansas-based hospital entered into a legal agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this month, ensuring that they will provide all future deaf patients with suitable communication tools. The department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) found that in 2019, CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs discriminated against a deaf individual when they failed to provide her with auxiliary hearing aids or any effective communications services.

“Effective communication is particularly critical in health care settings where miscommunication may lead to misdiagnosis and improper or delayed medical treatment,” said OCR Director Melanie Fontes Rainer. “Providers must understand their obligations under law and have in place protocols to ensure that staff know how to obtain interpreter services and other communication aids and services when needed by persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.”

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For Secretary Becerra to seek God’s guidance as he heads the federal health department.
  • For Director Rainer as she oversees the Civil Rights Office of HHS.
  • For health professionals and hospital administrators across the nation as they deal with staff shortages.

Sources: Department of Health and Human Services


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