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HHS Extends Nondiscrimination Provisions to Ensure Equity

In an effort to reduce disparities in health care and advance health equity for all patients, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a proposed rule that extends nondiscrimination provisions to include discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The proposed rule applies to health insurance marketplaces and all health programs and activities that are administered by or receive funding from HHS.

The proposed rule also addresses individuals with disabilities and people with limited English proficiency through specific communication requirements, including the provision of interpreters and accessibility of programs offered through electronic and information technology.

All hospitals and providers that receive any funding from Medicare or Medicaid will be subject to these provisions upon adoption. The proposed rule also clarifies that individuals can take legal action with the HHS Office for Civil Rights if they face discrimination.

This proposed rule continues HHS’ commitment to ensure equity across agency programs regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. Additionally, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recently released a plan to provide equitable and quality care in Medicare.

Comments on the proposed rule are due to HHS on November 6. Contact Erin O’Malley, director of policy, at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with any questions.

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About the Author

Matt Buechner is the policy and advocacy associate for America's Essential Hospitals.

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