Advocate for Your Equal Communication Access in Health Care System

April 8, 2011 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

Good Morning, Everyone.

On March 30, ECNV blogged a press release from the Department of Justice (DOJ) of special interest to the deaf and hard of hearing community about settling the ADA Lawsuit with Virginia’s Inova Health System.  DOJ reached a settlement with INOVA Health System to ensure effective communication with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing in the provision of medical services.  (For the complete press release, please visit ECNV’s blog). 

As I blogged on March 15, “Qualified Interpreters Are Mandated” to provide effective communication with individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing in the medical services locations and are necessary according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act. 

Often, many doctors do not want to provide qualified sign language interpreters for their deaf and hard of hearing patients in their offices because they do not want to spend the money. Many times, the deaf and hard of hearing individuals are afraid to stress that they need the interpreters. They know their rights, but they often feel awkward to request interpreters. I would suggest that you strongly encourage your deaf or hard of hearing family members, friends, or colleagues to self-advocate and get their equal (and very important) communication access. 

A couple of weeks ago, I was denied when I requested a qualified sign language interpreter for a visit to a dermatologist; the receptionists were not aware of ADA. I finally stated that they need to research the ADA for deaf and hard of hearing patients with health care providers. They were very rude, but I finally told them that I needed to speak to the office manager. Again, she did not know our rights, so I told her to research it first. She then video phoned me a few days later with an appointment date and informed that the qualified interpreter would be available for my visit. I try to be an example of good advocacy for the Deaf community.

By Doreen Solar, ECNV Deaf & HoH Peer Mentor

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Entry filed under: Advocacy, Deaf/HoH -- Vlog. Tags: , , , , .

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