September 25, 2022
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Mercy Health settles federal suit on discrimination – Morning Journal

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Acting U.S. Attorney Michelle M. Baeppler announced May 18 that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio has reached a settlement agreement with several hospitals located in the Mercy Health Northern Markets.

The agreement resolves violations stemming from an investigation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a news release from the Department of Justice.

A federal civil rights investigation into complaints of discriminatory treatment of deaf patients and their companions during health care stays at several hospitals triggered the settlement. According to the complaints, Mercy Health failed to provide on-site interpreters and, instead, relied on note writing and/or video remote interpreting services that failed to provide effective communication with the hearing impaired.

On the basis of its investigation, the United States determined that Mercy Health denied patients the appropriate auxiliary aids and services necessary for effective communication during health care.

Mercy Health agreed to take proactive steps to ensure future patients, and companions of patients, who are deaf or hard of hearing avoid similar discrimination, as part of the agreement. The hospital system will, among other actions, provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services, when necessary, after conducting a communication assessment by consulting with the patient and/or companion.

The agreement also states that patients and their companions will be advised of the availability of these aids and services throughout their healthcare stay and that these services will be provided free of charge.

Said Mercy of the agreement in a statement to The Morning Journal:

“Mercy Health recognizes that effective communication is one of the key factors in providing a quality, patient-centered care experience. As a result of concerns raised at two of our Ohio facilities, Mercy Health has agreed to a settlement in which we will offer more reliable language interpreter services and related support for those in our care, especially those who may be deaf or hard-of-hearing.”

Mercy Health has also been ordered to make payments to each aggrieved person identified during the investigation and pay a civil penalty to the United States.

According to the news release, this agreement is neither an admission of liability by Mercy Health nor a concession by the United States that its claims are not well-founded. Also, the Mercy Health hospital system cooperated fully throughout the investigation, which was conducted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Angelita Cruz Bridges.



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