Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities

Local health departments should be mindful of new rules adopted by the federal Health and Human Services Agency (HHS) through Section 1557 of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), which took effect in October of this year. The new rule requires health care programs or activities that receive federal funding incorporate nondiscrimination provisions by posting nondiscrimination notices and taglines in multiple languages in conspicuous locations and in significant publications and materials.

The posted notice is also required to include a statement that the entity provides – free of charge and in a timely manner – appropriate auxiliary aids and services to individuals with disabilities and language assistance services to individuals with limited-English Proficiencies (LEP). The final rule also requires covered entities with 15 or more employees, to have a grievance procedure and a compliance officer for this section.

Taglines are short statements written in non-English languages indicating the availability of language assistance services free of change. For larger-sized publications, taglines must be written in at least the top 15 languages spoken by individuals with LEP in the relevant state. On smaller publications, the taglines are required in at least the top two languages spoken by individuals with LEP in the relevant state.

HHS provides a sample nondiscrimination notice and tagline in English and 64 other languages, which can be found here.