The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a final rule implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act of 2010. The law and the rule prohibit health care providers from refusing to treat or otherwise discriminate against any individual based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. The rule applies to any entity that provides or administers health-related services and receives funding or financial assistance from HHS. This includes Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, meaningful use payments, and insurance plans issued through federal Health Insurance Marketplaces, so this rule impacts most physician practices. The rule does not apply to physicians who participate only in Medicare Part B, unless they are also receiving meaningful use incentive payments.
The new rule imposes several significant obligations on physician practices and other covered entities. By October 16, 2016 all covered entities, no matter how large or small, must post information in a conspicuous place notifying individuals that the entity/practice does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability and sex, including discrimination based on pregnancy, gender identity and sex stereotyping. Covered physicians must also designate a compliance coordinator and adopt grievance procedures, and submit an assurance of compliance form to the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR).
To review a three page summary of the Section 1557 final rule, including links to sample notices and translated taglines, click HERE