Guidance on Nondiscrimination in Telehealth: Federal Protections to Ensure Accessibility to People with Disabilities and Limited English Proficient Persons
Telehealth is an increasingly important way of delivering health care. Many health care providers and patients have turned to telehealth during the COVID-19 public health emergency to reduce community spread of the virus, and it is now a more accepted way to provide and receive health care services. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) are committed to ensuring that health care providers who use telehealth, including telehealth that is available 24/7, do so in a nondiscriminatory manner.
With this guidance, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and DOJ’s Civil Rights Division (CRT) explain how various federal laws require making telehealth accessible to people with disabilities and limited English proficient persons.
First Urology Refused to Assist Patients with Mobility Disabilities in Transferring to Exam Tables and Diagnostic Equipment
First Urology, P.S.C., the largest provider of urologic care in the greater Louisville and Southern Indiana area, has agreed to pay $60,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide individuals with mobility disabilities equal access to its services and facilities.
The allegations involved First Urology’s “Lifting Policy,” which provided it would not assist patients in transferring to examination tables or other diagnostic equipment. First Urology’s policy denied patients full and equal access to the services it provided because it required certain patients with mobility disabilities to bring their own equipment, friends, family, or attendants to help facilitate their transfer, in order to be treated. If the patient did not bring equipment, friends, family, or attendants to help transfer them, First Urology denied that patient treatment. These allegations were raised by three patients who also filed a lawsuit against First Urology, styled Fust et. al, v. First Urology, Case No. 3:20-CV-562 (W.D. Ky.).
United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced an agreement with Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in Philadelphia to resolve the Department of Justice review of the restaurant for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The government inspected the restaurant for ADA compliance as part of its review of 25 Philadelphia restaurants launched by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in 2015. These restaurants were not reviewed in response to any specific complaint.
Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group, Inc. (“Del Frisco’s”) entered into a Voluntary Compliance Agreement to resolve the government’s ADA compliance review of its Philadelphia Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse location on Chestnut Street. Designed and built in what was a nearly empty space in 2008, the restaurant was found to have a number of architectural barriers that violate the ADA, which President George H.W. Bush signed into law 32 years ago this week.
The agreement announced today requires the restaurant to take steps to remove specific barriers to accessibility identified by the Department of Justice during its inspection. The agreement also requires Del Frisco’s to identify and correct violations of the ADA that may exist in each of its other locations nationwide, including 16 Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse restaurants and 17 Del Frisco’s Grille locations.