East Texas Medical Center, HHS Enter Into Resolution Agreement Over Services for Deaf Patients

HHS' Office for Civil Rights and East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System, based in Tyler, Texas, have entered into a resolution agreement under which ETMC will ensure that deaf or hard-of-hearing patients will be screened and provided with sign language interpreter services when necessary.

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.  

Related Articles on Hospital Management:

Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene Settles Discrimination Lawsuit Filed by Deaf Patient

Iowa's Mercy Medical Center Settles Lawsuit Over Lack of Deaf Patients' Services

Massachusetts' Beverly Hospital Settles With Justice Department on Interpreters for Deaf

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