Any time is a good time to make sure you have resources available for patients who may require special help, especially if you receive federal payment such as Medicare and Medicaid. This means you must make and pay for accommodations for your patients who are hearing impaired or who have limited English proficiency (LEP).
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), physician offices are considered places of public accommodation in which no individual with a disability is “excluded, denied services, segregated or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services.”
Auxiliary aids include qualified interpreters and note takers, as well as other effective methods of communicating to individuals with disabilities.
Remember that failure to provide a reasonable aid, either literally or in the patient’s view, could result in a discrimination lawsuit.
Find information about the ADA at the ADA website.
See more about how you can comply with the law here.
The federal Civil Rights Act requires you to take reasonable steps to provide interpreters for patients unable to speak, read, write or understand the English language.
Several language interpreter services are available, but the law requires you to pay for it. The patient or the insurance company cannot be charged; however, free or discounted interpreter services may be offered through the patient’s insurance company or your malpractice insurer.
Read the AMA’s guidance on the law on the AMA website.
Learn more at hhs.gov or call the ISMA’s Legal Department.