Physicians accepting Federal financial assistance from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) including, but not limited to, payment under any Medicare Part A, C, and D plan or Medicaid must comply with the provisions under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. Section 1557 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in health programs or activities that receive federal assistance.
Effective July 18, 2016, physicians must:
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Section 1557: Anti-Discrimination Obligations
Many physicians and medical offices that participate in Medicare and Medicaid will be required to comply with regulations associated with Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. Join MSMS Legal Counsel, Daniel J. Schulte, JD, of Kerr, Russell and Weber, PLC, to learn the key points physicians and medical offices must understand.
The webinar is free for MSMS member physicans and their staff members.
- Post a nondiscrimination notice in the office and on the practice website >>
- Post "taglines" in the office and on the practice's website indicating that language assistance services are available free of charge >>
Taglines must be made available in the 15 most common languages spoken in Michigan. You will only need to add the correct phone number. The top 15 non-English languages for Michigan are: Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Syriac, Vietnamese, Albanian, Korean, Bengali, Polish, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Serbo-Croation, and Tagalog.
- Arrange for translator services or make other reasonable accommodations if necessary and requested. Some health plans you contract with arrange for these services at no charge. You should contact the health plans you contract with to inquire if services are available. If a translator service is necessary, you will be responsible for any associated costs and may not bill the patient. Other reasonable accommodations that may be appropriate in certain situations include remote or other electronic translation and preprinted written translations.
- Print the 15 taglines on any of your significant publications and communications. On smaller items such as postcards and brochures you may print just Spanish and Arabic. You may first use up existing stock of pre-printed publications.
Although the enforcement date for the posting provisions is delayed until October 17, 2016, best practice protocol is to incorporate these requirements as soon as possible. It is also important that your existing compliance program be updated to include training for physicians and staff on these nondiscrimination regulations and protections. Training materials, a model grievance procedure, and frequently asked questions are available on the HHS Office of Civil Rights website. Physician practices with 15 or more employees are required to have a grievance procedure and a designated compliance coordinator.
The Michigan State Medical Society's Legal Counsel is preparing a comprehensive Legal Alert outlining the requirements of Section 1557. In the interim, please do not hesitate to contact Stacey Hettiger at (517) 336-5766 with your questions.
If you are looking to contract with a vendor for your compliance needs, MSMS Practice Solutions partner, First Healthcare Compliance®, offers multiple options from which to choose and a discount for MSMS members.