The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act require that health care providers provide individuals with disabilities full and equal access to their health care services and facilities. Title II of the ADA applies to public hospitals, clinics and health care services operated by state and local governments and Title III of the ADA applies to privately-owned and operated hospitals, clinics and health care providers. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act applies to recipients of federal financial assistance such as Medicaid and federally conducted programs. (www.adata.org)
Hospitals Must Provide Reasonable Accommodation in Visitor Policies
In an effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and ensure the safety of health care workers and patients, health care facilities across the state are introducing policies that restrict or outright ban visitors. However, any such policy must allow for reasonable accommodations for patients with disabilities who may need assistance and support with communication, coping with stressful situations, or managing health care decisions.
People with disabilities including mental illness, intellectual or cognitive disabilities, and those with communication barriers, often depend on a support person to assist them. This assistance is necessary for the well-being and safety of the patient and facility staff may not be able to meet these needs. Therefore, all facilities must provide for reasonable accommodations as part of their visitor policy.
Here’s an example of a reasonable visitor policy from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago:
If your request for a reasonable accommodation to a visitor policy is denied, contact us at 603-228-0432 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment to speak to an attorney about this issue.