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On August 13, the NAD – along with several other deaf and hard of hearing advocacy organizations — filed joint comments with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), opposing many proposals created by HHS that would impact deaf and hard of hearing people’s ability to access healthcare free from discrimination.

Read the PR that shares some of the proposed changes that HHS made: www.nad.org/2019/09/12/possible-dangerous-healthcare-changes/

VIDEO DESC & TRANSCRIPT: The NAD logo appears on bottom right corner as a watermark. Zainab Alkebsi is standing inside the NAD Headquarters lobby.

ZAINAB: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shared a list of possible changes to the healthcare system that would impact deaf and hard of hearing people’s ability to healthcare access. The NAD and many other deaf and hard of hearing advocacy organizations oppose their proposals. Together, we filed our comment with HHS telling them their proposals will not improve but worsen our access to healthcare! I will share a few examples of what HHS proposed:

ON-SCREEN TEXT: DECREASE THE NUMBER OF HEALTHCARE BUSINESSES THAT MUST FOLLOW NON-DISCRIMINATION REQUIREMENTS.

ZAINAB: 1) decrease healthcare services who must follow HHS rules protecting people from discrimination, because right now the number of healthcare services that require equal access is many — they’re proposing to reduce, which means less services that are accessible for deaf and hard of hearing.

ON-SCREEN TEXT: REMOVE THE REQUIREMENT THAT HEALTHCARE BUSINESSES MUST LET PEOPLE KNOW THAT IT DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE ON THE BASIS OF DISABILITY.

ZAINAB: 2) remove the requirement of letting people know they have the right to request interpreter services or other auxiliary aids and services, how to receive them, and the process to file a complaint when their requests are not met.

ON-SCREEN TEXT: SEEK COMMENT ON WHETHER BUSINESSES WITH LESS THAN 15 EMPLOYEES TO BE EXCUSED FROM PROVIDING ACCOMMODATIONS.

ZAINAB: 3) HHS to seek comment on whether healthcare businesses with less than 15 employees should be excused from providing accommodations.

ON-SCREEN TEXT: REMOVING REQUIREMENTS ON VRI QUALITY STANDARDS; THIS COULD LEAD TO LOWER QUALITY VRI SERVICES FOR DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING USERS.

ZAINAB: 4) remove requirements on VRI quality standards. This could mean lower quality VRI services.

ON-SCREEN TEXT: REMOVE THE PRIVATE RIGHT TO SUE FOR PEOPLE WHO EXPERIENCE DISCRIMINATION BY A HEALTHCARE BUSINESS.

ZAINAB: 5) remove our right to sue if we experience discrimination.

ZAINAB: Keep in mind, I only shared a few examples of what HHS proposed. We are very concerned about this because if accepted, those new changes would remove our current protection from discrimination. Even though we have several federal laws requiring equal access, we still experience denial of medical services simply because of communication barriers!

ON-SCREEN TEXT: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

ZAINAB: What happens next is that HHS will review the public comments and then issue their Final Rule. We cannot go backwards – deaf and hard of hearing people must have equal access to medical services without any barriers. The HHS should not move forward with their proposed changes.

Video cuts to grey background with the NAD logo quickly changing in different bright colors from teal to white to black to hot pink to green to orange to teal to yellow to purple to finally the official NAD logo with copyright text underneath “The National Association of the Deaf (c) 2019 All Rights Reserved”.

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