Are You Complying with Notice of Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities Notice Requirements?
Effective July 18, 2016, all Medicare-certified healthcare organizations must notify patients about how they comply with nondiscrimination requirements. Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs and activities.
Within this rule, § 92.8 Notice Requirements, specifies that healthcare organizations take initial and continuing steps to notify beneficiaries, enrollees, applicants, or members of the public of their rights under the rule and the organization’s nondiscrimination obligations with respect to their health programs and activities. The notice must include that the healthcare organization does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.
The notice must include a statement that the organization provides auxiliary aids and services, free of charge, in a timely manner, to individuals with disabilities, when such aids and services are necessary to provide an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to benefit from the organization’s health programs or activities. The notice must also state that the organization provides language assistance services, free of charge, in a timely manner, to individuals with limited English proficiency, when those services are necessary for the person to access the organization’s health programs or activities.
The notice must include contact information for the organization, the organization’s grievance procedure, how the patient can file a complaint, and that the notice must be part of “significant “ publications or communications the organization uses to communicate information to Medicare beneficiaries. Examples of “significant” publications would be the home page of the organization’s website (or a link to the notice), patient handbook, outreach publications, and notices of patient rights. Since patients do not routinely visit home care and hospice agencies, it is not sufficient to post the notice within the office.
Although the full notice must be posted in English, taglines must be posted in at least the top 15 languages spoken nationally by individuals with limited English proficiency.