The Affordable Care Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs or activities. Section 1557 builds on long-standing 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 and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975.   The Medical Association encourages you to read all of the materials, including the training materials provided herein.

Who must comply? Physicians receiving financial assistance from HHS (except solely Part B).   Any physicians, hospitals or entities receiving any financial assistance with HHS, including Medicare Parts A, C & D; Medicaid grants; loans; subsidies; meaningful use payments; payments for research offered through NIH; payments for any health program administered by HHS; etc.  If a physician’s only financial assistance from HHS is to receive Part B, he or she is not covered.   If a physician or entity is principally engaged in healthcare then all of the operations are covered minus certain limited exceptions.

What must be done? Post notices, taglines, and take steps to provide meaningful access to Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Individuals.  This may mean you need to enter into a contract with a call center.  The Medical Association has provided information and materials that may help you come into basic compliance.  

What is a tagline? All covered entities must post short statements written in non-English informing individuals that language assistance services are available free of charge.  These taglines should be posted in the top 15 languages spoken by Limited English Proficiency (LEP) persons in that state.  The entity should post the taglines in physical locations with interaction with the public, websites and other significant communications.  The top two languages should be posted in small sized publications.   

If you believe you may be a covered entity under Section 1557, the Medical Association has provided further information and prepared taglines, sample notices, and a list of potential translation services that may be found here

The Medical Association is offering information in an effort to help members become compliant with the law.   The Medical Association is prohibited from offering legal advice to its members.  Should you need legal advice you should contact your own attorney.