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Press Release

U.S. Attorney’s Office Reminds Healthcare Providers of ADA’s Effective Communication Requirements

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced today that it has sent a Dear Colleagues Letter reminding healthcare providers of the effective communication requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To strengthen awareness and understanding of these requirements, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is inviting the public, including personnel at healthcare providers, to an informational meeting that will be held on June 6, 2023, at 1 p.m.

When Congress passed the ADA, it recognized that discrimination against individuals with disabilities persists in critical areas, including health services, which often involve high stakes communication. Through the ADA, Congress established a national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities by providing strong and enforceable standards. In support of these goals, the ADA and its implementing regulations require covered entities, including healthcare providers, to furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services to individuals with communication disabilities without imposing a surcharge on the individual, including qualified sign language interpreters, computer-aided transcription services, and effective methods of making visually delivered materials available to individuals who are blind or have low vision.

The ADA requirements apply to a variety of healthcare providers, including those operated by either private entities or state and local governments, such as hospitals, nursing facilities, urgent care providers, physicians, dentists, optometrists, durable medical equipment retailers, infirmaries located at institutions of higher learning and correctional facilities, and local mental health agencies. Further, the ADA applies to all services that covered entities provide, including in-person medical services, telehealth appointments, electronic kiosks, and websites.

The Dear Colleagues Letter explains that “[p]ursuant to the ADA, healthcare providers are required to ensure that communication with people with disabilities is as effective as communication with people without disabilities.” Further, “healthcare providers may not decline to provide treatment to an individual solely because they have a disability and may need auxiliary aids and services.” The Dear Colleagues Letter also includes links to numerous Department of Justice publications that provide a detailed discussion of the ADA’s effective communication requirements, including publications on “ADA Requirements: Effective Communication,” “ADA Business BRIEF: Communicating with People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in Hospital Settings,” and “Guidance on Web Accessibility and the ADA.” In addition, the Dear Colleagues Letter provides links to settlement agreements that provide a roadmap to the steps that covered entities can take to comply with the ADA, including Settlement Agreements with Goochland Powhatan Community Services, Brookside Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, Rite Aid Corporation, and Lincare, Inc.

The Dear Colleagues Letter announces that at 1 p.m. on June 6, 2023, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will be holding a virtual meeting for the public, including personnel at healthcare providers, to share information on the steps providers can take to comply with the ADA’s effective communication requirements, and provide an opportunity for questions and collaboration. The registration link for the meeting is here.

“Ensuring that healthcare providers are complying with the ADA by being accessible to individuals with communication disabilities is a critical mission of this Office,” said U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber. “We look forward to meeting with personnel from healthcare providers so that we can discuss the ADA’s effective communication requirements in healthcare settings.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, through its Civil Rights Enforcement (CRE) Unit, and in partnership with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, works to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society. The Office vigorously enforces a variety of federal statutes that prohibit discrimination, including the ADA and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, and Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974. The CRE Unit also enforces the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, which protect military members as they enter and return from active duty.

For more information on the ADA, visit or call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD).

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.


Press Officer

Updated April 14, 2023

Civil Rights
Disability Rights