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Final Rule on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

July 8, 2024
DeafHealth

🚨 New, final rule on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act effective July 8, 2024 🚨  

Remember last fall in 2023 when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recognized discrimination in healthcare against people with disabilities and released a notice to update Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act? HHS received over 5,000 comments from government officials, healthcare professionals, people with disabilities, and the public. 

The new final rule went into effect on July 8, 2024. This is a tremendous step forward for strengthening civil rights protections for people with disabilities, finally recognizing and addressing the widespread, pervasive discrimination in healthcare. The last time updates were made to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act was 1977! 

You can view or download the final rule here through the Federal Register: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection/2024-09237/nondiscrimination-on-the-basis-of-disability-in-programs-or-activities-receiving-federal-financial 

A fact sheet on the rule is available here: https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/disability/section-504-rehabilitation-act-of-1973/part-84-final-rule-fact-sheet/index.html 

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Transcript and Video Description

[Video Description: The post has a video thumbnail with blue shading overlaid. The middle has a text bubble that reads " New rule goes into effect July 8, 2024” in white text with rose background. In the video: A woman with long blonde hair and a blue shirt faces the camera. 

Transcript: Remember last fall in 2023, the U.S. federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)recognized and acknowledged widespread discrimination in healthcare for people with disabilities. To address this, HHS solicited comments, feedback, and opinions from the public on their notice to update Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. This is significant - finally recognizing the discrimination in healthcare, and the last time Section 504 was updated was in 1977. Now, the new final ruling officially starts July 8, 2024. This is a huge step forward for the disability community and our deaf communities. We were all part of that change to ensure equal access to treatment and care. HHS emphasized that they received over 5,000 comments from all of you. The goal of Section 504 is to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability within programs, services, or treatment that receive federal funding. The reason Section 504 has been updated is because discrimination in healthcare has persisted. The final ruling modernizes the law, and ensures consistency with current law, such as the ADA. The final ruling focuses on four areas: medical treatment, web and app accessibility, medical equipment accessibility, and child welfare programs. It’s important to recognize that technology has evolved since 1977. Therefore, discrimination has evolved too. We now have the internet, apps, and telehealth. When you connect with your doctor via telehealth, the new ruling now requires that such technology must follow internationally-recognized accessibility standards, including captioning. HHS’ Office of Civil Rights can provide support, such as technical assistance on the new ruling. If you’ve experienced discrimination, you can file a complaint through HHS. [The screen fades to show a thumbnail of a faded white background of a doctor holding hands with another individual] Deaf. Healthy. DeafHealth. Learn more at www.deafhealthaccess.org.] 

Topics:
Healthcare Access, News

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