Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta has reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office over allegations that the hospital violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Grady Hospital violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by “failing to ensure effective communication with individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing,” the DOJ said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office initiated an investigation when it received a complaint alleging Grady failed to provide the appropriate aids and services necessary to ensure effective communication.
The complaint centered on a deaf patient who received emergency care at Grady. The patient, who relies on American Sign Language his primary means of communication, alleged that he never received a sign language interpreter or any other aid during his six-hour stay in Grady’s Emergency Care Center.
“When a deaf patient or caregiver is unable to understand what is happening during a medical visit or procedure, it can be a terrifying experience and adversely affect the quality of care.”” U.S. Attorney John Horn said.
According to the press release, Grady has agreed to ensure effective communication to patients who are deaf and hard of hearing by providing mandatory in-service training to all Emergency Care Center personnel. The center will report to the U.S. Attorney’s Office regarding its compliance to the agreement. Grady will also pay $5,000 to the complainant.
The Americans with Disabilities Act protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination by healthcare professionals. The ADA requires health care providers to provide effective communication to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.