Language Access Requirements 1

Titles VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that no person in the United States, shall on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity for which the entity receives Federal financial assistance from the Department.

Specifically, providers of client services must: develop clear, written communication policies, procedures and plans; and provide and document training in order to ensure that staff can communicate meaningfully with applicants/clients and/or family members who are limited English proficient (LEP); determine and document the primary language of applicants/clients and/or family members; and ensure that bi-lingual workers or qualified interpreters are provided at no cost to the applicant/client at all necessary points of interaction. This may necessitate a contract with an interpreter referral service or telephonic interpreter provider.

The Provider must also stipulate that services will be provided in a culturally sensitive and linguistically accessible manner.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that no otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall, solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination under any program or activity for which the entity receives Federal financial assistance from the Department.

Specifically, providers must develop clear, written communication policies, procedures and plans; and provide and document training in order to ensure that staff can communicate meaningfully with applicants/clients and/or family members who are deaf, hard or hearing, late deafened, speech impaired and/or nonverbal.  The Provider must provide visible or tactile alarms for safety and privacy, and/or assistive listening devices (ALDs) when necessary and train staff in the use of appropriate adaptive equipment.

The Provider must obtain the services of a qualified, licensed sign language interpreter or other adaptive service such as CART or C-Print at no expense to the applicant/client or family member.

Americans with Disabilities Act states that no qualified individual with a disability shall, on the basis of said disability, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity for which the Provider receives Federal/State financial assistance.

Specifically public entities, and business and nonprofit organizations that service the public must take appropriate steps to ensure that communications with applicants, participants, members of the public, and companions with disabilities are as effective as communications with others.

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act states that no person in the United States shall, on the basis of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination by a covered entity receiving Federal financial assistance for a program or activity.

Specifically, covered entities must take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to individuals with limited English proficiency eligible to be served or likely to be encountered in their health programs or activities.  Covered entities are encouraged to develop and implement a language access plan.

Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Providers who offer services to the public, and who can reasonably expect to get calls from the public at large, shall be knowledgeable regarding the use of Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) hereinafter referred to as Relay, in its various forms, including the acceptance of TTY calls, video relay calls, or speech-to-speech calls.  Providers should ensure that appropriate staff have received training in accepting, effectively participating in, and placing Relay calls.  Agencies that purchase specific telecommunications equipment related to deafness or hearing loss, such as telecommunication devices for the deaf (TTY or TDD) or videophones (VP), shall periodically test such equipment and ensure that appropriate staff are trained it the use of such equipment.  TTY and VP numbers should be published on all provider stationary, letterhead, business cards, etc. and in the local telephone directory as well as the statewide TTY/VP directory.

Resources available to assist providers meet their obligations are located at Language Assistance Services

1 Disclaimer: Information provided does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied upon as a representation by the Department as to any entity or person's legal rights or responsibilities.