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REHAB ACT: Section 504: Health care provider

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Health Care Providers Under Section 504

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Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 applies to any recipient of federal financial assistance. In the health care setting, federal financial assistance can consist of grants, loans, or other arrangements by which the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) makes available funds or services. An individual with a disability cannot be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination through a covered program or activity. Through Medicare/Medicaid and other grants from DHHS, many health care providers are subject to Section 504̥s requirements.

Health care providers cannot limit an individual with a disability in the enjoyment of any right, privilege, advantage, or opportunity enjoyed by others receiving an aid, benefit, or service. In order to insure equal opportunity to benefit or participate in a program or activity, health care providers may need to provide aids, benefits, or services that are effective. For example, as with Title II and III of the ADA, a hospital may need to provide a sign language interpreter to an individual who is Deaf in order to ensure effective communication. Similarly, a clinic may need to offer an alternative format of large print or braille for an individual with a visual disability. In addition to its own obligation to offer equal and effective opportunity and access to its programs and services, a health care provider must also not discriminate through any contract, licensing, or other arrangement.

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