Section 1557 is the nondiscrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in “certain health programs or activities”. Section 1557 extends nondiscrimination protections to individuals participating in: 1) Any health program or activity any part of which receives funding from HHS; 2) Any health program or activity that HHS itself administers; and 3) Health Insurance Marketplaces and all plans offered by issuers that participate in those Marketplaces.
Participation for rehab providers is required is you are a Medicare Provider such as a rehab agency or a CORF. If you are a private practice (a Medicare Supplier) and accept Medicaid and/or TRICARE, then Section 1557 is applicable to your practice. Medicaid is considered a “grant” program which receives funding from HHS. While Tricare is not administered by HHS, the Department of Defense (DoD) policies require non-discrimination, specifically addressing Section 1557 of the ACA.
Note: If you are an outpatient private practice and only accept Medicare Part B, and do not accept Medicaid or TRICARE, then Section 1557 may not be applicable to your practice.
Section 1557 builds on Federal civil rights laws:
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- Age Discrimination Act of 1975
The ACA Section 1557 Toolkit contains:
- Background on the law (2010) and the Final Rule implementing Section 1557 (2016)
- Sample Notice of Non-Discrimination, what is required and where to post
- Sample civil rights policies
- Sample language access policy
- Sample grievance procedure
- Suggestions for assembling communication resources for those with LEP including website taglines and publication taglines
- Suggestions for providing communication resources for the visually impaired
- Suggestion for establishing a policy on use of communication for the hearing impaired, including the use of American Sign Language Interpreters
- Sample staff training and education on your civil rights policies
- And more…..
Disclaimer: The Section 1557 Toolkit is not legal advice. The Toolkit provides a road map for implementing the provisions of Section 1557. HHS has provided a number of resources on their website that may be helpful in assisting providers and suppliers in establishing compliance with Section 1557. Many providers find that after reviewing the implementation requirements that they either don’t have the necessary resources (primarily staff time to research and develop policies and procedures and notices), or they prefer to have a resource to assist them in getting started on compliance. You are encouraged to visit the HHS Section 1557 Resource page, and determine if you feel that this Section 1557 Toolkit would be of benefit to your practice rather than developing compliance with Section 1557 without our Toolkit. The Toolkit does not substitute for legal advice, and should you have questions on compliance with ACA Section 1557 we advise you to seek the advise of competent counsel.