The factsheet for Section 1557 of the ACA, posted on the website of the Department of website of Health and Human Services, says:
The page starts with a short summary of the rule:
Section 1557 is the nondiscrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The law 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 and familiar 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. Section 1557 extends nondiscrimination protections to individuals participating in:
Any health program or activity any part of which received funding from HHS
Any health program or activity that HHS itself administers
Health Insurance Marketplaces and all plans offered by issuers that participate in those Marketplaces.
Section 1557 has been in effect since its enactment in 2010 and the HHS Office for Civil Rights has been enforcing the provision since it was enacted.
Section 1557 of the ACA impacts the aspect of healthcare that covers compliance with human rights standards such as language access. As a translator and interpreter, I will focus on language access, my field of expertise.
Section 1557 has established guidelines for qualified professionals. This is consistent with previous guidance, and ensures patient safety. Lack of quality language access, in fact, results in higher expenditures and more adverse health outcomes. This is why the specific requirements for qualifications in Section 1557 are important.
See the process on comments in this link, from the Federal Register.
The Trump Administration has proposed changes to the current regulation, and comments are due by August 13 of 2019. By today, July 21, 2019, many voices have expressed their concerns.
The National Health Law Program gave this presentation and granted attendees permission to share it. 1557 LEP_NHELP_Webinar powerpoint
The National Health Law Program has additional resources:
- The High Costs of Language Barriers in Medical Malpractice
- The Trump Administration’s Proposed Changes to Language Access in the Section 1557 Regulations
The Kaiser Family Foundation has expressed concerns.
Slator, a publisher known to represent the language company point of view, published an article on the issue.
The Slator article links to concerns submitted by Language Line, which has expressed very legitimate concerns as well.