HHS, DOJ Issue Guidance to Eliminate Telehealth Discrimination
New guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) aims to combat discrimination in telehealth that can result in barriers to care. The guidance calls for equitable care for individuals with disabilities, including those who are blind, deaf, or not fluent in English. Among other things, providers can offer sign language interpretation and language assistance services and make other changes to policies and practices to support disabled individuals seeking care via telehealth. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division said, "Federal civil rights laws protect patients from discrimination whether they receive health care online or at the doctor's office. The Department of Justice will vigorously enforce the [Americans with Disabilities Act] and other civil rights laws to ensure that health care providers offering telehealth services are doing so free from discrimination."
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