The U.S. Department of Justice Department announced a settlement with Franciscan St. James Health (St. James), requiring that patients and companions who are deaf or hard of hearing receive sign language interpreters and other services necessary to ensure effective communication, in compliance with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the agreement, St. James will pay $70,000 in damages to a patient who is deaf who was allegedly denied a sign language interpreter throughout her four day stay in the hospital. The settlement also requires that St. James provide auxiliary aids and services, including sign language interpreters, to people who are deaf or hard of hearing within prescribed time frames and free of charge; designate an ADA Administrator; use their grievance resolution systems to investigate disputes regarding effective communication with deaf and hard of hearing patients; post notices of their effective communication policy; and train hospital personnel on the effective communication requirements of the ADA. The settlement is part of the Department’s Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative, a partnership of the Civil Rights Division and U. S. Attorney’s offices across the nation to enforce the requirement under Title III of the ADA requirement that people with disabilities, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing, who have HIV, or who have mobility disabilities, have equal access to medical services.

 

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Photo of Joseph J. Lynett Joseph J. Lynett

Joseph Lynett is a Principal in the White Plains, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. and is a contributor to the Disability, Leave & Health Management Blog. His practice focuses on assisting clients in meeting the legal and practical challenges posed by…

Joseph Lynett is a Principal in the White Plains, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. and is a contributor to the Disability, Leave & Health Management Blog. His practice focuses on assisting clients in meeting the legal and practical challenges posed by federal and state laws protecting injured and ill employees, as well as disabled students and members of the public. Mr. Lynett provides imaginative and creative solutions to the complex array of workplace disability and health management issues faced by both large and small companies.

Learn more about Mr. Lynett on the Jackson Lewis website.