Federal Government Enters Agreement with Ashland Dermatology Practice to Ensure Effective Communication with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Patients

For Immediate Release

U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The United States has reached an agreement, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), with Jack F. Ditty, M.D., P.S.C., a dermatology practice in Ashland, Kentucky, addressing effective communication with deaf and hard of hearing patients.

The settlement resolves a complaint filed by a patient who alleged that she was not provided an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter during an initial appointment.  Through an investigation, the United States determined that the dermatology practice failed to take necessary steps to ensure effective communication with deaf or hard of hearing patients, by not providing interpreters or other auxiliary aids and services to patients, who staff knew were deaf or hard of hearing, and encouraging those patients to bring someone with them to facilitate communication.

“Adequate communication with your health care provider is absolutely essential to receiving the medical care you need,” said Carlton S. Shier, IV, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “This foundational access to communication is critically important and required by law.  This settlement reflects our commitment to ensuring deaf and hard-of-hearing patients can properly participate in their important health care decisions, through essential access to adequate communication services.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the practice will advise patients and companions of their right to auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication, including a live qualified sign language interpreter, whether through video or on-site.  The practice will maintain a list of qualified interpreters and establish internal procedures for ordering interpreting services. The practices will also modify its policies and practices to comply with the ADA, train its staff on the ADA and the terms of the agreement, and will periodically submit reports about its compliance with the agreement.

This matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Pond, in coordination with the Disability Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.

For more information on the Office’s civil rights efforts, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-edky/civil-rights.  ADA complaints may be emailed to usakye.civilrights@usdoj.gov or by contacting the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Civil Rights Hotline at (859) 685-4880.

More information about the ADA is available at the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information line at (800) 514 0301 or (800) 514 0383 (TTY) and on the ADA website at www.ada.gov.

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