Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington
On October 15, 2021, the United States (through the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington) reached a resolution of allegations from several complainants that a healthcare system in Washington repeatedly failed to provide interpreters to patients who are deaf or deaf-blind, as well as evidence of systemic failures to provide interpreters when necessary, leading patients to delayed care and problems with communication. Such failures create a major barrier to safe and appropriate medical care. The agreement includes a $1 million fund to pay claims to those patients whose rights were violated. The healthcare system also agrees to update and improve procedures for evaluating the need for interpreters, contracting with interpreters, and training staff surrounding those procedures. Under the settlement some of the changes include: consistent screening of patients for the need of interpreter services; contracting with two interpreter services companies per facility to better provide services; contracting with video interpreter services for those occasions when in-person interpretation is not possible. The healthcare system also agreed to pay a $85,000 civil penalty.