For Providers of Health Care and Social Services
Laws and Regulations that OCR enforces that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability
How do I know if I am a Covered Entity under these laws?
If the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides Federal financial assistance directly or through another covered entity in the form of payment for specified use, a grant, or direct loan to you, for a program for the provision of services or benefits to individuals, you are considered as a covered entity. A sub-grantee that provide services for a covered entity also is a covered entity and must comply with OCR’s civil rights requirements.
OCR also enforces Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits public entities from discriminating against individuals with disabilities regardless of whether the entity receives Federal financial assistance. OCR enforces Title II as it applies to the provision of healthcare and social services by state and local government entities.
If you receive some type of federal financial assistance from another Federal department or agency but do not receive any HHS assistance, you are not a covered entity under OCR’s jurisdiction. You may also not be such a covered entity if you are a health care professional who accepts only Medicare Part B insurance payment. You may be subject to nondiscrimination laws enforced by another Federal Civil Rights enforcement agency (FRCA).
You may also want to review OCR’s Compliance and Enforcement page and the Regulations and Nondiscrimination Laws Enforced by OCR
OCR Resources to Assist State and Local Agencies in Complying with Civil Rights Laws:
- Hospitals and Effective Communication – to assist state hospitals and other health care providers meet the communication needs of persons who have limited English proficiency and as well as persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing
- Adoption/Foster Care – to assist adoption and foster care agencies in complying with regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in adoption or foster care placement.
- Limited English Proficiency (LEP) – to ensure effective linguistic services and programs for persons who have limited English proficiency (includes published guidance)
- National Origin Discrimination – to assist agencies benefit applications and other administrative procedures do not deter or deny eligible national origin groups from obtaining services
- Olmstead and New Freedom Initiative – to assist providers in serving persons with disabilities in the most integrated setting
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families - to assist providers to make available their programs and services without regard to a person’s race, color, national origin, disability, sex, age, religion or political belief.
- Medicare Provider Certification – Medicare Certification Civil Rights Information Forms and Technical Assistance
HHS, DOJ, and DOE Guidance on Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Disability
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Justice, and the Department of Education sent a joint letter to the nation’s medical schools, dental schools, nursing schools, and other health-related schools regarding hepatitis B discrimination. Citing March 2013 settlement agreements that the Justice Department reached with a medical school and a school of osteopathic medicine resolving allegations that the schools violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by excluding previously-accepted applicants with hepatitis B from their programs (read our related blog post), the Departments express concern that some health-related schools may be making enrollment decisions based on an incorrect understanding of the hepatitis B virus, resulting in unlawful discrimination. The joint letter reminds the schools about the Updated Recommendations for the Management of Hepatitis B Virus–Infected Health-Care Providers and Students published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a July 2012 MMWR. The letter emphasizes the importance of the CDC’s recommendations, especially as they relate to the schools’ obligation to comply with federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability, race, and national origin.
- Read the Guidance (June, 2013)