Southern California Permanente Medical Group and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals have agreed to resolve allegations that they violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide at one of their facilities a qualified sign language interpreter or other appropriate form of auxiliary aid or service to a deaf patient, according to an announcement on the US Department of Justice (DOJ) website.
The letter of resolution, which was signed by executives with the two Kaiser entities, ensures that individuals with disabilities at its Baldwin Park Medical Center receive appropriate auxiliary aids and services necessary for effective communication. Southern California Permanente Medical Group and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals have agreed to provide equipment and services free of charge to ensure that people who are deaf or hard of hearing have full and equal access to medical appointments, treatments, and emergency visits at this medical center.
The investigation in this matter was triggered by a complainant who alleged she was not provided effective communication before and after a surgical procedure in 2018.
The entities, which fully cooperated with the government’s investigation, have agreed to:
- Provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified interpreters, when necessary to ensure effective communication with patients who are deaf or hard of hearing and their companions;
- Advertise the availability of auxiliary aids and services;
- Provide training on auxiliary aids and services, including to qualified interpreters, the diversity coordinator, Medical Center personnel, and telephone operators; and
- Pay compensation to the complainant and civil penalties to the United States.
In February 2020, the US Attorney’s Office, Southern California Permanente Medical Group, and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals entered into a settlement agreement to resolve allegations that the two entities failed to provide qualified sign language interpreters or other appropriate forms of assistant to a patient at their West Los Angeles Medical Center.
The US Attorney’s Office conducted the investigation as part of the Department of Justice’s Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative, through which U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the Department’s Civil Rights Division target their enforcement efforts on a critical area for individuals with disabilities – access to medical services and facilities.
Assistant United States Attorney Acrivi Coromelas of the Civil Division’s Civil Rights Section handled this matter.
For more information on the ADA, please call the toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TDD) or access the ADA website at: http://www.ada.gov.
Source: US DOJ