Agreement Demonstrates the Importance of Providing Language Assistance Services

Agreement Demonstrates the Importance of Providing Language Assistance Services

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently announced that a Voluntary Resolution Agreement has been made with the Erie County Department of Social Services. The agreement is said to ensure that appropriate language assistance services are provided to individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP) whom the entity serves.

The Importance of Language Assistance Services

According to HHS, as a result of OCR's Investigation, the Erie County Department of Social Services (ECDSS) "voluntarily entered this Agreement and affirmed its assurance of compliance" with all provisions under Title VI, by taking multiple actions to improve its language assistance services. This includes:

  • Assigning a Title VI coordinator;
  • Conduct and complete an assessment of the linguistic needs of the affected population served by ECDSS;
  • Identify and translate all vital documents provided by ECDSS;
  • Develop and implement a language access plan with written policies and procedures on providing assistance to individuals with LEP;
  • Develop and implement mandatory training for all staff;
  • Adopt a grievance procedure;
  • Post a Notice of Nondiscrimination;
  • Post a Nondiscrimination Statement; and,
  • Post Taglines in at least 10 languages.

The announcement went on to say that although this Agreement resolves violations under Title VI, the provisions of this voluntary settlement reflect the interpretations of those standards contained in OCR's regulation implementing the language access requirements of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.

Did you know?

Healthcare Compliance Pros has answered several questions regarding Section 1557. See Section 1557 Frequently Asked Questions for more information. In addition, we have included all of the required information, training, and forms in our Corporate Compliance program. Corporate Plus also includes additional support resources. Please reach out to HCP if you need any additional information or assistance, or to inquire about adding these services to your HCP program.