ADA & Accessibility

We are committed to ensuring accessibility for the Deaf and hard of hearing. To achieve these goals we provide free consultation and tools to ensure equal access to services and productions consumed by clients, employees, and the public.

Reporting ADA Violations

This interactive PDF is enabled with click through links.

We recommend sharing this form with deaf clients, family and associates as well as service management and staff who are refusing meaningful access to programs they offer to the public, relevant to ADA laws. 

REPORTING ADA VIOLATIONS

US DEPT OF JUSTICE
CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION

Phone: 888-848-5306
TTY: 202-514-0716

OPTION 1:
Click the online complaint link below:

OPTION 2:
Print and fill out [Complaint Form] From this Link:

Keep a copy for your records, mail all required forms to:

Postal Address:
 Federal Coordination and Compliance Section – NWB
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C.  20530

THE JOINT COMMISSION

Phone: 630-792-5800
Fax: 630-792-5636

OFFICE OF QUALITY AND PATIENT SAFETY

When reporting a safety event to Joint Commission, you may submit anonymously.

Keep all evidence of claims.

Postal Address:
OFFICE OF QUALITY AND PATIENT SAFETY
The Joint Commission
One Renaissance Boulevard
Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois 60181

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

Phone: 888-225-5322
TTY: 888-835-5322

ASL VideoPhone:
844-432-2275

Fax: 630-792-5636

When reporting to FCC, keep all evidence for your records.

Postal Address:
Federal Communications Commission Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division

45 L Street, NE Washington, D.C. 20554

DEAF RESOURCES

THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT of 1990 | United States Congress | 42 US Code Chapter 126
Equal Opportunity for Individuals w Disabilities

The Congress finds that—physical or mental disabilities in no way diminish a person’s right to fully participate in all aspects of society, yet many people with physical or mental disabilities have been precluded from doing so because of discrimination; others who have a record of a disability or are regarded as having a disability also have been subjected to discrimination;

Historically, society has tended to isolate and segregate individuals with disabilities, and, despite some improvements, such forms of discrimination against individuals with disabilities continue to be a serious and pervasive social problem;

It is the purpose of this chapter—to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities;

To provide clear, strong, consistent, enforceable standards addressing discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

To ensure that the Federal Government plays a central role in enforcing the standards established in this chapter on behalf of individuals with disabilities; and

To invoke the sweep of congressional authority, including the power to enforce the fourteenth amendment and to regulate commerce, in order to address the major areas of discrimination faced day-to-day by people with disabilities.

Resources | National Association of the Deaf

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is the nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America.

Established in 1880, the NAD was shaped by deaf leaders who believed in the right of the American deaf community to use sign language, to congregate on issues important to them, and to have its interests represented at the national level. 

The advocacy scope of the NAD is broad, covering a lifetime and impacting future generations in the areas of early intervention, education, employment, health care, technology, telecommunications, youth leadership, and more – improving the lives of millions of deaf and hard of hearing Americans.

Videophone
Purple/ZVRS: 301-587-1788
Sorenson: 301-328-1443
Convo: 301-338-6380

TTY: 301-810-3182
Fax: 301-587-1791

Email: nad.info@nad.org

Mailing Address:
National Association of the Deaf
8630 Fenton Street, Suite 820
Silver Spring, MD 20910

How the ADA Applies to Businesses

As a business owner or operator, or someone thinking about opening a business, you may have wondered what you have to do to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This course explains how the ADA applies to businesses in ten short lessons.

Putting these lessons into practice will allow you to comply with the ADA and welcome a whole new group of customers to purchase your goods, products, and services.

And you may find that making your business more accessible and welcoming to people with disabilities is not as difficult as you thought. This huge customer market can represent additional business and profit for your enterprise. The course will help you learn how to attract and successfully provide your services to this market.
 

To make this course easier to fit into your busy schedule, we divided it into individual lesson modules. Go though the lessons at your own pace, and as your time allows. As you progress through the course, you will find links to additional information, but you can also access a wealth of information by visiting the ADA Website at www.ada.gov.

ADA Information Line:
Voice:
+1 800-514-0301
TTY: +1 800-514-0383 

ADA Business Brief: Communicating With The Deaf  | US Dept. of Justice – Civil Rights Division

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), hospitals must provide effective means of communication for patients, family members, and hospital visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The ADA applies to all hospital programs and services, such as emergency room care, inpatient and outpatient services, surgery, clinics, educational classes, and cafeteria and gift shop services. Wherever patients, their family members, companions, or members of the public are interacting with hospital staff, the hospital is obligated to provide effective communication.

Exchanging written notes or pointing to items for purchase will likely be effective communication for brief and relatively simple face-to-face conversations, such as a visitor’s inquiry about a patient’s room number or a purchase in the gift shop or cafeteria.

Written forms or information sheets may provide effective communication in situations where there is little call for interactive communication, such as providing billing and insurance information or filling out admission forms and medical history inquiries.

For more complicated and interactive communications, such as a patient’s discussion of symptoms with medical personnel, a physician’s presentation of diagnosis and treatment options to patients or family members, or a group therapy session, it may be necessary to provide a qualified sign language interpreter or other interpreter.

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Defines Effective Communication

Recently, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals defined “effective communication” in a medical setting.  The court stated as follows:

There can be no question that the exchange of information between doctor and patient is part-and-parcel of healthcare services.

Thus, regardless of whether a patient ultimately receives the correct diagnosis or medically acceptable treatment, that patient has been denied the equal opportunity to participate in healthcare services whenever he or she cannot communicate medically relevant information effectively with medical staff.

It is not dispositive that the patient got the same ultimate treatment that would have been obtained even if the patient were not deaf.”

Housing and Urban Development | Communication

Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, recipients of HUD financial assistance, state and local governments, health care facilities, group homes, assisted living facilities, colleges and universities, and housing rental and sales offices, among others, have the legal obligation to take appropriate steps to ensure effective communications with individuals with disabilities.

Resources Related to Effective Communication
by The Joint Commission

“The Joint Commission has had standards requiring the provision of interpretation and translation services for more than 15 years. These standards were created in the early 90’s as part of The Joint Commission Patient’s Rights initiative. One of the requirements outlined in the standards is the patient’s right for effective communication. Interpretation and translation services were identified as one of the means to support that right.

Here you will find resources that may be helpful in learning more about effective communication, planning for and providing language services. This is not an exhaustive list; many groups are addressing effective communication and the provision of linguistically appropriate health care services. The Joint Commission does not endorse specific programs or products.”

FACT & FICTION:
WHAT DO JOINT COMMISSION STANDARDS SAY ABOUT HEALTHCARE INTERPRETATION?
BY AMY WILSON-STRONKS, MPP, CPHQ.

 “The new Joint Commission standard on effective communication is found within the set of standards that relate to provision of care, treatment, and services. This is significant as it emphasizes that effective communication is not simply a patient’s right, but an essential component of safe, effective, high quality care.”

Joint Commission | Language Access and The Law | TITLE VI – U.S. CIVIL RIGHTS ACT (1964) | TITLE III – AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (1990) | SECTION 504 – REHABILITATION ACT (1973)

“All entities receiving direct or indirect Federal financial assistance from HHS through a grant, contract, or subcontract, are covered by these policies.”

ADA Checklist | Ensuring Access to Services and Facilities by Patients Who Are Blind, Deaf-Blind or Visually Impaired | American Foundation for the Blind

“Good-faith effort to comply with the ADA will be an important factor in any proceeding to adjudicate a complaint against you…  Assistance from organizations of and for persons who are blind as well as qualified individuals who are blind, deaf-blind, or visually impaired can be an invaluable resource in your efforts to comply with the ADA.”

Telecommunications Relay Service – TRS | Information and Filing Complaints with FCC

Telecommunications Relay Service allows persons with hearing or speech disabilities to place and receive telephone calls. TRS is available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories for local and/or long distance calls. TRS providers – generally telephone companies – are compensated for the costs of providing TRS from either a state or a federal fund. There is no cost to the TRS user.

Don’t hang up!

Some people hang up on TRS calls because they think the CA (Communications Assistant) is a telemarketer. If you hear, “Hello. This is _______ relay…” when you pick up the phone, please don’t hang up! You are about to talk, through a TRS provider, to a person/client who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, or has a speech disability.

Filing a Complaint:

You have multiple options for filing a complaint with the FCC:

File a complaint online at https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov

By phone: 888-CALL-FCC (888-225-5322);
By videophone:  844-432-2275
By mail (please include your name, address, contact information and as much detail about your complaint as possible):

Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
45 L Street NE
Washington, DC 20554

Disability Rights Office | FCC

The Disability Rights Office addresses disability-related matters, including access to telecommunications services and equipment; hearing aid compatibility; access to advanced communications services and equipment; access to Internet browsers built into mobile phones; telecommunications relay services; the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program; accessible video programming and video programming apparatus (access to televised emergency information, closed captioning on television and television programs on the Internet, audio description, and accessible user interfaces, text menus, and program guides).

The Disability Rights Office provides expert advice and assistance to other Commission bureaus and offices, consumers, industry and others on issues relevant to persons with disabilities. The Disability Rights Office initiates rulemaking where appropriate.

Phone (Voice): 202-418-2517
Videophone: 844-432-2275
Email: DRO@fcc.gov

 

Disability Rights Office | FCC

The Disability Rights Office addresses disability-related matters, including access to telecommunications services and equipment; hearing aid compatibility; access to advanced communications services and equipment; access to Internet browsers built into mobile phones; telecommunications relay services; the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program; accessible video programming and video programming apparatus (access to televised emergency information, closed captioning on television and television programs on the Internet, audio description, and accessible user interfaces, text menus, and program guides).

The Disability Rights Office provides expert advice and assistance to other Commission bureaus and offices, consumers, industry and others on issues relevant to persons with disabilities. The Disability Rights Office initiates rulemaking where appropriate.

Phone (Voice): 202-418-2517
ASL Videophone: 844-432-2275 – [844-4-FCC-ASL]
Email: DRO@fcc.gov

 

Sorenson VRS | Communication Technology for the Deaf and Relay Services

Will I be billed for calls placed through Sorenson VRS?

No, all VRS calls are paid for by the government’s Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) fund. If hearing individuals call you using your 10-digit local number, they may receive long distance charges from their phone company.

How is Sorenson VRS funded?

All VRS companies are funded through the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) program. Funds are made available by a federal law, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires functional equivalency in telecommunications access. Sorenson is compensated for the minutes of Sorenson VRS calls that are interpreted. Sorenson is not reimbursed for equipment that is supplied, including videophones and routers, or installation and service of that equipment.

Is the information I share through Sorenson VRS kept confidential?

Yes, all Sorenson VRS interpreters are required to abide by the confidentiality rules as outlined by the FCC in Section 705 of the Communications Act and as outlined in the TRS rules 47 C.F.R. § 64.604. Mandatory minimum standards can be found at: https://www.ecfr.gov.

CDC Deaf Resources Page | CDC.gov

This section includes website addresses, contact information, and brief descriptions for organizations, agencies, and corporations that provide information related to children with hearing loss and their families. Websites of the U.S. government are indicated by the phrase “(Federal Website)” after the name of the agency.

Resources | American Society for Deaf Children

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Suicide Prevention Lifeline | Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Hearing Loss

The network of crisis centers offers many services for people who are deaf and hard of hearing, including veterans.

Call Relay Service or 711, Provide Phone Number:
Phone: 1-800-273-8255

If you are a Veteran or service member with hearing loss, or any person concerned about someone who is, there are several ways to contact the Veterans Crisis Line:

Veteran Crisis Line
Text: 838255
Phone: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line | Accessible Crisis Text Line 

Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, anytime. Crisis Text Line is here for any crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds, all from our secure online platform. The volunteer Crisis Counselor will help you move from a hot moment to a cool moment.

UK: 85258 | Ireland: 50808 | Or connect with Facebook

Legal Services Corporation | Find Legal Aid Tool

LSC is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid organizations in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories.