Section 1557 is the nondiscrimination law in the Affordable Care Act. It prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs and activities. Section 1557 builds upon other nondiscrimination laws, and is the first federal law to prohibit sex discrimination in healthcare, including gender identity and stereotypes.
All health programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance must comply with Section 1557 regulations. The final rule for this provision became effective July 18, 2016.
Covered entities must post notices of the nondiscrimination policies and communicate the availability of language assistance services to individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP). Specific provisions for healthcare providers related to posting noticing will go into effect on October 17, 2016.
Section 1557 Compliance Checklist:
- Update and implement policies and procedures to ensure nondiscrimination in the provision of healthcare items and services on the basis of the protected classes, including sex and gender identity.
- Adopt a grievance procedure and appoint a Compliance Coordinator to be responsible for compliance efforts.
- Review and update programs to ensure LEP individuals have meaningful access to healthcare items and services without reliance on patient family members or children to provide interpretation. Consider staff training to ensure availability of qualified interpreters. Consider adopting a language access plan.
- Review and update programs and services to ensure they are accessible to individuals with disabilities through the use of appropriate auxiliary aids and services.
- Review and update health plan benefit design and administration to comply with the final rule.
- Post a nondiscrimination notice with taglines in the top 15 languages in their state (listed below) in a conspicuous public location where it will be visible to patients and in a conspicuous location on the provider’s website. Update “significant publications” and “significant communications” – including notices relating to rights or benefits, vital documents, outreach, education, and marketing materials – to include the nondiscrimination notice and taglines. Templates for the notices and taglines can be found on the Office of Civil Rights website by clicking the link above.
- Mon-Khmer, Cambodian
The rule does not apply to employment practices such as hiring and firing, except that covered employers are responsible for their employee health benefit programs.
For more information regarding the rule, please see the resources listed below, or contact Krista Ordemann, Manager Advocacy Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 803.744.3555.