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The United States government, in its commitment to ensuring the equality, respect, equity, and rights of individuals living in this country, has created a series of laws and regulations in support of majorities, minorities, and all those who have some type of disability to have the same type of accessibility to community resources, respecting their cultures and avoiding discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex.

These are:

1. The Affordable Care Act, Section 1557 (ACA).

2. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

3. Title IV of the Civil Rights Act.

4. Executive Order 13166.

5. National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in

health and health care.

6. Department of Health and Human Services regulations (45 CFR § 80.1 et seq.).

7. Medicaid Managed Care Requirements (42 CFR § 438.10).

8. Medicare Regulations for the Medicare Advantage Program (42 CFR § 422.2264 and §


9. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Minority Health Directives, Civil Rights Division.

Next, let's talk a little about the ACA and ADA.


Section 1557 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health care programs and activities.

The rule covers the following:

  1. Any health care program or activity that receives, even in part, funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (e.g., hospitals that accept Medicare or physicians that accept Medicaid).

  2. Any health care program administered by HHS.

  3. Health insurance marketplaces and issuers participating in those marketplaces.

Section 1557 builds on earlier federal civil rights laws that prohibited discrimination based on sex in the health care context. In addition, the final rule requires the health care programs and activities involved to treat individuals in a manner consistent with their gender identity.

Entities must take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to individuals with limited English proficiency who are eligible to receive their services or who are likely to participate in their health care programs and activities. In addition, involved entities are encouraged to develop and implement a language access plan.


The goals of the ADA are:

  1. To provide a clear and comprehensive national and global mandate that would eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities.

  2. To provide a clear, strong, consistent, coherent, and valid anti-discrimination law.

  3. To ensure that the federal government will play a leading role in enforcing the law on behalf of people with disabilities.

The ADA requires that people with disabilities obtain effective communication by providing "Auxiliary Aids and Services," which refers to ways to communicate with people who have communication disabilities, such as people who are blind, visually impaired, deaf-blind, speech impaired, mute, a deaf-mute.

For visually impaired people, these services come in the form of Braille, computer reading and verbalizing content, and audio recording. For those who are hearing impaired, services will be provided by a qualified note-taker, a person qualified to use sign language interpretation and written materials. For people who have speech or language problems, a qualified speech-to-speech translator (a person trained to recognize unclear speech and repeat it clearly) is included, especially if the person will be speaking at length, such as when testifying in court, or simply taking more time to communicate with someone who uses a communication board.

A "qualified" interpreter is someone who can interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially, both receptively (i.e., understanding what the person with a disability is saying) and expressively (i.e., having the skill necessary to convey the information to that person) using whatever specialized vocabulary is necessary. This also includes interpreting in different languages.

In our next article, we will discuss Title IV of the Civil Rights Act and Executive Order 13166.

At Traducy we have qualified interpreters and translators who work with clarity, impartiality, respect, and confidentiality. Our interpreters do it meaning for meaning and not word for word (verbatim).

Call us at 385-977-8713 or email us at or visit our website: if you need help or if you would like to get your free quote or estimate.

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