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Hospital agrees to settlement in ADA language access case

August 28, 2017 Compliance

A Washington state hospital agreed earlier this month to a settlement to resolve alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a news release from the Department of Justice.

Highline Hospital of Burien will pay a total of $45,000 to settle a case involving a deaf complainant who alleged that the hospital failed to provide him and his wife, who is also deaf, with American Sign Language interpreters following the man’s spinal surgery. In addition, the hospital is required to implement a plan to ensure full compliance with ADA requirements in the future.

"There is very little as important in the hospital than being able to communicate effectively with treatment providers," said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. "The Americans with Disability Act ensures that at critical junctures in medical care those who need it – including those who are deaf or hard of hearing – have access to services such as ASL translators."

According to the settlement, the man was was a patient in January 2014 and had requested an ASL interpreter before his surgery. However, an interpreter was not provided at "critical junctures in his care," such as immediately following surgery and during discharge instructions.

The lack of interpreter also meant the man’s wife was unable to communicate effectively with medical staff about her husband’s condition, "including the extent of spinal damage that was discovered during surgery, the patient’s level of pain, information about post-operative care, and potential side effects from medication," the news release says.

Read the rest of the release.



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