Justice Department Reaches Settlements with Multiple Health Care Providers to Stop Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities Under the Barrier Free Health Care Initiative
The Justice Department announced today that, as part of its Barrier Free Health Care Initiative, it has reached three additional settlements with health care providers to ensure that they are complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The announcement comes as the department marks the 25th anniversary of the ADA. The Department of Justice, including the nation’s U.S. Attorneys and the Civil Rights Division, are proud to play a critical role in enforcing the ADA, working towards a future in which all the doors are open to equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, integration and economic self-sufficiency for persons with disabilities.
The new settlement agreements—entered into by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan—address the requirements of the ADA for health care providers, such as hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, mental health facilities and doctor’s offices, to, among other things, provide effective communication to people who are deaf or have hearing disabilities in the provision of medical services. In addition, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York recently filed a lawsuit against, Emmanuel Asare, M.D. and Springfield Medical Aesthetic PC d/b/a Advanced Cosmetic Surgery of New York for failures to provide medical treatment for an individual with HIV.
“Eliminating disability-based discrimination in health care is a priority for the department under the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said head of the Civil Rights Division, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “Twenty five years after the passage of the ADA, we fully expect that all health care providers will provide equal access to people with disabilities.”
In the Fairfax Nursing Center (FNC) settlement, entered into by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia on July 6, 2015, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia entered into a settlement agreement with the Fairfax Nursing Center requiring it to:
adopt policies and procedures that ensure that individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing—patients and companions—receive auxiliary aids and services that insure effective communication;
train its staff on the ADA’s effective communication requirements;
pay $80,000 to the complainants and $5,000 to the United States in a civil penalty; and
establish a fund of $12,500 to sponsor training on the ADA’s requirements for others in the Virginia nursing facility industry.
The investigation began with a complaint alleging that FNC violated the ADA by failing to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including sign language interpreter services, to two individuals who are deaf (two family members of a patient) during critical interactions relating to the patient’s medical care.
In two matters involving individual medical practices in the Eastern District of Michigan, the U.S. Attorney’s Office entered into settlement agreements with the office of Dr. Srinivas Mukkamala and the office of Dr. Arshad Pervez, to ensure that they provide sign language interpreters and other appropriate auxiliary aids and services for patients and companions who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The Department of Justice’s Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative is a partnership of the nation’s U.S. Attorneys and the Civil Rights Division. The initiative, launched on the 22nd anniversary of the ADA in July 2012, includes the participation of more than 45 U.S. Attorney’s Offices. Today’s Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative settlements may be found at www.ada.gov/settlemt.htm. For more information on the Barrier Free Health Care Initiative visit www.ada.gov/usao-agreements.htm.
The department has a number of publications available to assist entities to comply with the ADA, including a Business Brief on Communicating with People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in Hospital Settings, www.ada.gov/hospcombr.htm and publications specific to health care providers, HIV discrimination and effective communication with people with hearing and vision disabilities, as well as publications about tax credits available for providing access. For more information on the ADA and to access these publications, visit www.ada.gov and www.ada.gov/aids. Those interested in finding out more about these settlements or the obligations of public accommodations under the ADA may call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or access its ADA website at www.ada.gov. ADA complaints may be filed by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.