Tags Posts tagged with "HHS"


The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued a Final Rule to advance equity and bolster protections for people with disabilities. The final rule, Discrimination on the Basis of Disability in Health and Human Service Programs or Activities, updates, modernizes, clarifies, and strengthens the implementing regulation for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance.

The historic rule provides robust civil rights protections for people with disabilities in federally funded health and human services programs, such as hospitals, health care providers participating in CHIP and Medicaid programs, state and local human or social service agencies, and nursing homes. Reflecting on over 50 years of advocacy by the disability community, it advances the promise of the Rehabilitation Act and helps to ensure that people with disabilities are not subjected to discrimination in any program or activity receiving funding from HHS. This final rule is consistent with Section 504 statutory text, congressional intent, legal precedent, and the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advancing equity and civil rights.

Overview of HHS’ Final Rule Implementing Section 504 of the Rehab Act
Tuesday, May 28, 2024
2:00 pm ET
Register Here

On May 1, 2024, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made disability rights history with the release of a long-awaited final rule implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This comprehensive update — the first since the initial regulation was put into place more than 40 years ago — creates one of the most powerful tools we have ever had to combat discrimination based on disability in health care and human services.

In this webinar, leaders from the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will provide an overview of the rule’s critical provisions for the disability and aging networks. ASL and CART will be provided. A recording will be available on ACL’s website shortly after the webinar.

ACL was proud to work with their partners in the OCR and the disability community to achieve this top priority, and they are looking forward to working with OCR, the disability and aging networks, and the broader community to ensure that people with disabilities know about the rule’s powerful provisions to uphold their civil rights and guarantee they have equal access to health care and human services.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has updated the regulations that prohibit discrimination based on disabilities to clarify obligations in several critical areas. Specifically, the rule:

  • Ensures that medical treatment decisions are not based on negative biases or stereotypes about individuals with disabilities, judgments that an individual with a disability will be a burden on others, or dehumanizing beliefs that the life of an individual with a disability has less value than the life of a person without a disability.
  • Prohibits the use of any measure, assessment, or tool that discounts the value of a life extension on the basis of disability to deny, limit, or otherwise condition access to an aid, benefit or service.
  • Defines what accessibility means for websites and mobile applications and sets forth a specific technical standard to ensure that health care and human service activities delivered through these platforms are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.
  • Adopts the U.S. Access Board’s standards for accessible medical diagnostic equipment, like exam tables and mammography machines.
  • Details requirements to ensure nondiscrimination in the services provided by HHS funded child welfare agencies, including, but not limited to, reasonable efforts to prevent foster care placement, parent-child visitation, reunification services, child placement, parenting skills programs, and in- and out-of-home services.
  • Clarifies obligations to provide services in the most integrated setting, like receiving services in one’s own home, appropriate to the needs of individuals with disabilities.

Additionally, the Final Rule updates existing requirements to make them consistent with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), as many HHS recipients are also covered by the ADA. This consistency will improve and simplify compliance.

View the full press release here. If you have any questions, please contact Fady Sahhar.


Hole torn in a dollar bill with medicaid text

On April 25, 2024, at 12:00 pm, a virtual statewide briefing will be conducted on Medicaid unwinding and expanded enrollment options. This event will feature Health and Human Services (HHS) Regional Director Melissa Herd, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Val Arkoosh, and Pennie Executive Director Devon Trolley.

The agenda will include a briefing on what’s happening at the federal level when it comes to Medicaid, an update on the Medicaid “unwinding” process currently wrapping up in Pennsylvania, and the expanded eligibility requirements for enrolling in Pennie coverage even when it’s not open enrollment.

To register, please visit here.

As noted in a previous alert from the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has also been providing updates regarding the recent cybersecurity incident that impacted Change Healthcare (a unit of UnitedHealth Group). HHS has noted that their first priority is to help coordinate efforts to avoid disruptions to care throughout the health care system.

On March 5, 2024, HHS announced immediate steps that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking to assist providers to continue to serve patients. CMS will continue to communicate with the health care community and assist, as appropriate. Providers should continue to work with all their payers for the latest updates on how to receive timely payments.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is offering online trainings to enhance cultural competency for mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) professionals, particularly in serving historically marginalized populations. These trainings, available through the Improving Cultural Competency for Behavioral Health Professionals program, aim to increase awareness of cultural and language competency, biases, and clients’ cultural identities and needs. The four courses, with an estimated completion time of 4–5.5 hours, cover topics such as self-awareness, understanding clients’ cultural identities, and providing culturally and linguistically appropriate interventions and services. The training is free but requires registration.