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Consumer Voice Submits Comments on Rule Prohibiting Discrimination in Healthcare

October 04, 2022

Yesterday, Consumer Voice sent a letter to the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services commenting on the notice of proposed rulemaking on Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The Health Care Rights Law (Section 1557 of the ACA) prohibits discrimination in health care on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability.  These prohibitions on discrimination are essential for residents of long-term care to receive high quality care in an environment free from discriminatory practices.

Consumer Voice supports:

  • Section 1557 applying broadly to health programs and activities.
  • Medicare Part B treated as federal financial assistance (FFA), and Part B providers as recipients under Section 1557.
  • Ensuring that the more than 6.5 million seniors over age 60 and four million people with Medicare who are limited English proficient (LEP) can access care and services, receive important healthcare information in a language they understand, and be informed of their rights and how to enforce them.
  • Requiring that individuals be notified of their rights of nondiscrimination and of availability of language assistance services and auxiliary aids and services.
  • Designating a Section 1557 Coordinator, establishing policies and procedures, and training employees.
  • Clear, accessible procedures for filing, investigating, and remediating discrimination complaints, including intersectional claims.
  • Strong prohibitions on sex discrimination in order to address health disparities for LGBTQ+ older adults.
  • Preserving prior existing requirements for structural accessibility and the reasonable modifications and incorporating the U.S. Access Board’s accessible medical and diagnostic equipment standards in the final rule.
  • Prohibiting discriminatory plan benefit design and marketing practices.
  • Prohibiting discrimination through the use of clinical algorithms in decision-making and broadening the prohibition to include any form of automated decision-making system.
  • Prohibiting discrimination in telehealth services.
  • Adopting a demographic data collection requirement and establishing demographic data collection as a function of civil rights monitoring.

For more information, read the full letter.

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