Settlement Agreement Between The United States Of America And The Commonwealth Of Virginia Department Of Health

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COMPLAINT NUMBER 204-79-77

Background

  1. This matter was initiated by a complaint filed under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. ァァ12131-12134 ("the ADA"), with the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division ("Department") against the Department of Health of the Commonwealth of Virginia ("Department of Health"). The complainant alleges that the Department of Health has violated title II of the ADA and the Department of Justice's implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 35, by failing to provide effective communication for EMT training videos. Pursuant to the provision of the ADA entitled "Alternative Means of Dispute Resolution," 42U.S.C. 12212, the parties have entered into this Agreement.
  2. The Department of Justice is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part35, Subpart F, to investigate fully the allegations of the complaint in this matter to determine the compliance of the Department of Health with title II of the ADA and the Department's implementing title II regulation, issue findings, and, where appropriate, negotiate and secure voluntary compliance agreements. Furthermore, the Attorney General is authorized under 42 U.S.C. ァ12133 to bring a civil action enforcing title II of the ADA should the Department of Justice fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to Subpart F. In consideration of the terms of this Agreement, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation or from filing civil suit in this matter.
  3. The parties to this Agreement are the United States of America and the Department of Health. In order to avoid the burdens and expenses of an investigation and possible litigation, the parties hereby agree as follows:
Jurisdiction
  1. The ADA applies to the Department of Health because it is a public entity as defined in the Department of Justice's regulation implementing title II. 28 C.F.R. ァ 35.104.
  2. The Department of Health is responsible for the Office of Emergency Medical Services ("EMS") and EMS's provision of training videos to EMS providers.
  3. Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability, in the services, programs, or activities of a public entity such as the Department of Health.
  4. Under the ADA, the services, programs, and activities provided by EMS and the Department of Health, when viewed in their entirety, must be accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.

Remedial Action

  1. In order to ensure effective communication with any participant who is deaf or hard of hearing and has functional limitations to pursue the training programs of EMS, the Department of Health agrees to develop and adopt, within 90 days of the effective date of this agreement, a written policy containing the following provisions:
    1. When people with hearing impairments wish to view EMS videos in order to obtain Category I (required hours) credit, EMS will, upon request, secure amplification (assisted listening) devices or the services of a qualified interpreter. For interpreter services, EMS must abide by the Contract with the Department of Deaf and Hard of Hearing whenever possible. Requests for interpreters must be made at least one week before the video airtime. This request is to be made on the "Interpreter Request Form" of the Department of Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The term "qualified interpreter" means an interpreter who is able to interpret effectively and accurately both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary. Cancellation of the need for services must be made according to the contract.
    2. When people with hearing impairments wish to view EMS videos in order to obtain Category III (multimedia hours) credit, EMS will provide transcripts of those videos. Requests for transcripts must be made at least 72 hours before the video originally airs. The transcript will be mailed to the requester within one week after the original air-time of the video.
    3. If requests for interpreters or for transcripts are made less than 72 hours before the video in question originally airs, EMS will make reasonable efforts to provide the auxiliary aid requested, but will not guarantee services. Services will not be provided by non-certified interpreters.
    4. People with hearing impairments will not be charged for the services of sign language interpreters or for copies of video transcripts.
    5. EMS will notify individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing about the availability of amplification devices, interpreters, and transcripts for EMS videos and about the procedures for requesting such services. The Department of Health will disseminate this information through pamphlets, posters, or other appropriate means.

Implementation and Enforcement of the Agreement

  1. This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this document or any information contained in it may be made available to any person by the Department of Health or the Department upon request. The Department of Health shall provide a copy of this Agreement to any person upon request.
  2. The Department of Justice may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the Department of Justice believes that this Agreement or any requirement thereof has been violated, it may institute a civil action in Federal district court following written notice to the Department of Health of the possible violation and a period of ten (10) days in which the Department of Health has the opportunity to cure the alleged violation.
  3. Failure by the Department of Justice to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision thereof with respect to any deadline or any other provision herein shall not be construed as a waiver of the Department of Justice's right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.
  4. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
  5. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties on the matters raised herein, and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by either party or agents of either party, that is not contained in this written Agreement, will be enforceable under its provisions.
  6. This Agreement is limited to the facts set forth herein and does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act or any other Federal law. This Agreement does not affect the Department of Health's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of title II of the ADA.
  7. The signer of this document for the Department of Health represents that he or she is authorized to bind the Department of Health to this Agreement.

For the Virginia Department
of Health:

__________________________      Date________________

For the United States:

Bill Lann Lee
Acting Assistant Attorney General
for Civil Rights

By:_______________________      Date__________________
   John L. Wodatch
   Allison Nichol
   Naomi Milton
   Disability Rights Section
   Civil Rights Division
   U.S. Department of Justice
   P.O. Box 66738
   Washington, D.C. 20035-6738
   (202) 514-9807

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Updated August 6, 2015

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