Leonard C Boyle, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that the government has entered into a settlement agreement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) with the Institute of Living in the United States. Hartford Hospital, on its own behalf and on behalf of its professional emergency room and mental health center operated within Hartford Hospital. The Institute of Living is a mental health center specializing in comprehensive patient care, research and education in the areas of behavioral, psychiatric and addiction disorders and whose services are provided to the public.
This case was initiated upon receipt of a complaint filed with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut by Disability Rights Connecticut. Disability Rights Connecticut filed the complaint on behalf of a complainant who is deeply deaf. It is alleged that the Complainant attended the Hartford Hospital Emergency Room and was subsequently transferred and treated by Institute medical staff. On several occasions, the complainant requested a sign language interpreter during her several days of admission to understand treatment options and attend group therapy sessions, and to understand and sign the documents provided to her during the course. his stay. She did not have a trained interpreter and was unable to attend group therapy sessions to deal with her depression and suicidal thoughts. The complainant also could not communicate with her treating psychiatrist and did not fully understand why she had been admitted to the hospital.
ADA Title III requires public accommodation, including hospitals, to take measures to ensure that people with disabilities are not excluded, isolated or treated differently due to the lack of aids and auxiliary services, such as qualified interpreters. The regulations of Title III prohibit public accommodation from forcing a disabled person to be accompanied by another person to interpret for them. Title III regulations also prohibit public accommodation from charging persons with disabilities a supplement for measures, including aids and ancillary services such as interpreters, which are necessary to provide the person with a disability with non-discriminatory treatment. under the ADA.
The settlement agreement resolves the complaint based on the above allegations that the Institute of Living violated Title III of the ADA by failing to provide effective communication to the complainant. The settlement agreement requires the Institute to provide appropriate aids and ancillary services free of charge, including qualified interpreters, in all of its deaf or hard of hearing patient facilities whenever necessary to ensure effective communication for those persons. people. The Institute will provide ADA training to all staff. In addition, the Institute will compensate the complainant in the amount of $ 10,000.
The ADA authorizes the US Department of Justice to investigate complaints and undertake periodic compliance reviews of covered entities. The Department of Justice is also authorized to bring a civil action in federal court in any case involving a pattern or practice of discrimination or which raises questions of general public importance, and to seek injunction, damages and civil penalties.
âThis case demonstrates the commitment of this office to protect the rights of people who are deaf or hard of hearing and to ensure that these people are able to communicate effectively with healthcare professionals. Acting US Attorney Boyle said. “I thank the Institute of Living at Hartford Hospital for their cooperation during this investigation and for resolving these ADA issues without resorting to litigation.”
This case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brenda M. Green of the Connecticut District in coordination with the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice.
Any member of the public who wishes to file a complaint alleging that a health care provider’s office or other public accommodation or public entity in Connecticut is not accessible to people with disabilities can contact the United States Attorney’s Office. at 203-821- 3700.
Additional information on the ADA can be found at www.ada.gov, or by calling the Department of Justice’s toll-free information line at (800) 514-0301 and (800) 514-0383 (TTY). More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.justice.gov/crt.