Agency Title VI Guidance, Directives, Initiatives, and Reports

Agency Title VI Guidance, Directives, Initiatives, and Reports

Seal of the Department of Health and Human Services

Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights Issues National HIV/AIDS Compliance Review Report to Strengthen Civil Rights and Health Information Privacy for People Living with HIV/AIDS:

On July 12, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (HHS OCR) issued a report on its National HIV/AIDS Compliance Review Initiative. The Initiative began in 2014, when HHS OCR conducted coordinated compliance reviews at twelve hospitals – one hospital in each of the twelve cities most impacted by HIV/AIDS: Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Houston, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; New York City, NY; Philadelphia, PA; San Francisco, CA; San Juan, PR; and Washington, D.C. The compliance reviews examined the ways in which each hospital ensures: (1) equal access for HIV-positive individuals to programs and services, in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; (2) meaningful access for limited English proficient (LEP) individuals in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; and (3) the privacy and security of individuals’ health information and their rights with regard to that information, in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The report emphasizes that, pursuant to Title VI and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, hospitals and other health care providers (“covered entities”) must:

  • Adopt and post Notices and Nondiscrimination Statements which explain that the covered entity does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability, including HIV status;
  • Designate Civil Rights Coordinators to establish and implement grievance procedures for patients and consumers;
  • Provide auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication for individuals with disabilities;
  • Take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to each LEP individual eligible to be served or likely to be encountered in the covered entity’s health programs or activities. Reasonable steps may include: (1) the provision of qualified interpreters to LEP individuals when oral interpretation is required to provide meaningful access; and (2) the provision of qualified translators to translate written documents or web content.
  • Ensure that such language assistance services are provided free of charge, are accurate and timely, and protect the privacy and independence of LEP individuals. Covered entities, with limited exceptions, are prohibited from allowing children, family members or friends of the patient to serve as interpreters.

 

To read the full report, visit go.usa.gov/xKz4j. To download and share HHS OCR’s Information Is Powerful Medicine public education campaign, visit aids.gov/privacy.

Seal, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Department of Housing and Urban Development Issues New Guidance on Fair Housing Protections for People with Limited English Proficiency:

On September 15, HUD issued guidance that addresses how the Fair Housing Act would apply to claims of housing discrimination brought by people who do not speak, read, or write English proficiently. The guidance addresses how various legal approaches, such as discriminatory effects and disparate treatment, apply in Fair Housing Act cases in which a housing-related decision – such as a landlord’s refusal to rent or renew a lease – involves a person’s limited ability to speak, read, write, or understand English.

 

Discriminatory practices, for example, could include applying a language-related requirement to people of certain races or nationalities; posting advertisements that contain blanket statements, such as “all tenants must speak English;” or immediately turning away applicants who are not fluent in English. Targeting racial or national origin groups for scams related to housing also constitutes intentional discrimination. 

 

The guidance is available at go.usa.gov/xKz42. HUD’s 2007 Notice of Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons is available at go.usa.gov/xKz4T.

Seal of the Department of Justice

Department of Justice Publishes Updated and Expanded Segments of its Title VI Legal Manual:

On September 27, FCS released the first portion of the updated and expanded Title VI Legal Manual (go.usa.gov/xKz4F). Updated sections cover key concepts under Title VI, including legislative history of Title VI, the role of DOJ, and the scope of Title VI coverage. DOJ issued the Title VI Legal Manual, pursuant to its mandate under Executive Order 12250, to ensure the consistent and effective enforcement of Title VI and related statutes. Publication of the Title VI Legal Manual is a part of DOJ’s ongoing initiative to restructure, reevaluate and strengthen Title VI enforcement government-wide. DOJ will release additional portions of the Manual, with updates that will address conduct prohibited by Title VI, including intentional discrimination, disparate impact, and retaliation in the future. More information on this initiative is available at go.usa.gov/xKz4M.

Department of Justice Releases Report on Language Access in State Courts:

On September 14, FCS released its report, Language Access in State Courts, on the Civil Rights Division’s Courts Language Access Initiative. The report explains the benefits of language access to limited English proficient individuals and to court systems alike. It further outlines the enforcement and technical assistance efforts of the initiative, including case examples and resources. The report is available in English (go.usa.gov/xKz4e) and Spanish (go.usa.gov/xKz4t), with translations in Vietnamese, Korean, and Chinese (both Simplified and Traditional) coming soon.