East Texas Medical Center, HHS Enter Into Resolution Agreement Over Services for Deaf Patients
A deaf patient alleged she had not been provided a sign language interpreter while receiving prenatal care at ETMC Crockett (Texas) Hospital. After investigating the patient's complaint, OCR issued a letter of concern to ETMC outlining deficiencies in their policies regarding services to deaf or hard-of-hearing patients.
As a result of the resolution agreement, ETMC will assess each patient to determine whether auxiliary aids and services are necessary to ensure effective communication and install additional text telephones. The healthcare organization will also implement a grievance procedure, new policies on nondiscrimination and the provision of auxiliary aids and services, appoint a coordinator to oversee those policies and provide staff training.
Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, hospitals that receive federal financial assistance must provide auxiliary aids and services to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
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