Federal Government Reaches Settlement with Providence Skilled Nursing Center for Alleged Violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island
PROVIDENCE –Elmhurst Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center (“Elmhurst”) has entered into an agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island, resolving allegations that Elmhurst failed to furnish sign language interpreting services during interactions with a resident who is deaf, announced United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha.
Under the settlement agreement, Elmhurst will adopt new ADA policies and practices, train its staff on those policies, will report any future complaints, and agrees to cooperate with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to ensure ongoing compliance with the terms of the settlement agreement. Elmhurst will also pay a settlement of $30,000 to the complainant and a $5,000 civil penalty.
“When deaf Rhode Islanders seek medical care, they shouldn’t have to worry whether a lack of legally required interpreter services will keep them from communicating effectively with their healthcare providers,” remarked U.S. Attorney Cunha. “Today’s settlement ensures that those services will be provided, as the law requires, for all patients.”
Elmhurst is a private medical practice that provides skilled nursing services, post-acute medical services, and rehabilitation programs in Providence. Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in places of public accommodations, such as medical centers. The ADA requires places of public accommodation to provide the necessary auxiliary aids and services to ensure that communication is effective. Such aids and services can include American Sign Language interpreters for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and must be paid for by the place of public accommodation.
The matter was litigated by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy R. Romero.
The Department of Justice has a number of publications available to assist entities in complying with the ADA, including Effective Communication and a Business Brief on Communicating with People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in Hospital Settings. For more information on the ADA and to access these publications, visit www.ada.gov or call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD).
Any member of the public who wishes to file a complaint alleging that a place of public accommodation or public entity in Rhode Island is not accessible to persons with disabilities may contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at (401) 709-5000 or by email at USARI.CivilRightsComplaint@.gov.
Updated April 27, 2023
Press Release Number: 23-53
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