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HHS Issues Nondiscrimination Proposed Rule

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a proposed rule that, if finalized, would eliminate protection from discrimination in health care settings based on gender identity and roll back requirements to notify individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP) of anti-discrimination policies and access to translation services.

The proposed rule represents a reinterpretation of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which guarantees protection from discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs or activities. A 2016 final rule defined these protections to apply based on gender identity, affording protections to transgender individuals, or those who do not identify as the gender assigned to them at birth.

The new proposal eliminates some requirements for hospitals and other covered entities to provide notices to individuals informing them of nondiscrimination policies and the availability of interpreter services. It also redefines HHS’ standards for determining whether an entity has met its obligation to provide “meaningful access” to individuals with LEP.

The proposed rule was posted on HHS’ website. Comments will be due 60 days after the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register.

America’s Essential Hospitals issued a statement on the proposed rule and will publish a detailed Action Update.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Rachel Schwartz is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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