New rules stipulated by Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act went into effect in July 2016.

The New Section 1557 Rules: Taking 100 Pages Bit by Bit

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This post is part of a continuing series on the new Affordable Care Act Section 1557 regulations that went into effect in July, 2016. Find the other pieces in the series at the following links:

The new Affordable Care Act Section 1557 non-discrimination rules become FEDERAL LAW before the end of July 2016. There is much to digest and understand in the 100 pages of the US Department of Health & Human Services’ new regulations. Combing through the dense paragraphs admittedly takes time, patience, and a certain nerdiness, perhaps borne of being a lawyer and a former federal law enforcement attorney.

In coming posts, we will provide information about some of the many highlights buried in  the new regulations.

For today, the focus is on why “planning” for language services must lead to “doing.”

The new rules emphasize the importance of “advance planning” for how to provide language services to Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients. The rules recommend, which in federal parlance essentially means require, the development and implementation of compliant language access plans. While the rules encourage those who are engaged in such active planning to continue what they are already doing, USHHS also is quite clear that “planning” alone is not enough if an LEP patient does not receive the qualified language services required by federal law.

As the new regulations state: “…engaging in such planning is NOT (emphasis added) a defense for failing to provide language assistance services to any particular individual at all, or in an untimely manner…”

The lesson here, basically is talk is cheap. Health care providers covered by the new laws must move from planning to doing, from talking about how to provide language services to actually providing them. Simply put, it’s the Law.

Read some of Bruce Adelson’s other blog posts to learn about more developments in language access law, and be sure to contact us if you’re interested in a consultation about your own organization’s compliance with federal language access law.

© Bruce L. Adelson, special for Bromberg.  2017 All Rights Reserved The material herein is educational and informational only.  No legal advice is intended or conveyed.

Bruce L. Adelson, Esq, CEO of Federal Compliance Consulting LLC is nationally recognized for his compliance expertise concerning many federal laws.  Mr. Adelson is a former U.S Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Senior Attorney. 

Mr. Adelson teaches cultural and civil rights awareness at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

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