National Association of the Deaf

Health Care and Mental Health Services



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The NAD Law and Advocacy Center leads the nation in challenging the most life-threatening form of discrimination against deaf or hard of hearing individuals – discrimination by health care and mental health service providers.  

The NAD Law and Advocacy Center continues to advocate for equal access to health care and mental health services in hospitals and private doctors’ offices across the United States.  

The status of mental health services for deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States is woefully inadequate.  Mental health service providers may mistake cultural, language and communication issues for developmental delays, mental illness or mental retardation.  The NAD provides Position Statements on mental health services to help educate service providers who work with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.  The Position Statements advocate for mental health services using cultural and linguistic affirmative approaches.  The NAD also recommends specific actions that States can take to address mental health services to deaf and hard of hearing patients.

In addition, the NAD developed guidance on the use of video remote interpreting (VRI) services in hospitals, including minimum requirements for VRI technology and equipment, and an advocacy statement which can be used to educate hospitals and medical service providers about VRI.  

Related IssueCivil Rights Laws
 

Recent NAD Action Highlights

  • Clinical Radiologists – Filed complaint with U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) alleging that, on two separate occasions, Clinical Radiologists refused to provide qualified sign language interpreter services to communicate with a patient who is deaf-blind.  This case was successfully settled.
  • Cuevas v. Palmetto General Hospital – Complaint filed in 2007 alleging failure to provide qualified sign language interpreter services necessary to communicate effectively with a deaf couple.  This case was successfully settled.
  • Sorace v. St. Agnes Hospital - Filed complaint against hospital in Baltimore alleging failure to provide qualified interpreter services, and refusal to accept relay calls or schedule an appointment. This case was successfully settled.
  • Posner v. Adventist Health Care - Filed complaint alleging failure to provide qualified sign language interpreter services to ensure effective communication.
  • Joined with other organizations to meet with the Surgeon General to discuss promoting awareness of issues related to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Provided written and in person comments to the Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR) to advocate for increased research on mental health in the deaf community.