language protection section 1557

In June 2022, the Trump Administration announced a rollback of language access notifications for limited English speakers and other important civil rights protections. The regulations were included in Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Section 1557 is the nondiscrimination provision of the ACA. The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs or activities, including those that receive federal funding.

Prior to the rollback, covered entities were required to send notices and taglines with all significant communications, making it clear to recipients that interpretation and translation services are available for free upon request. These entities are no longer required to send these notices and taglines.

The administration cited the expense associated with the notices as reason for the rollback, which they called “regulatory burdens.”

Language Protections Remain in Place

It is important to note that despite this rollback, important language access protections remain in place, including Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Executive Order 13166. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has indicated their commitment to enforcing anti-discrimination laws in healthcare settings.

HHS has produced a fact sheet on the ruling. Additionally, the National Health Law Program did a very thorough analysis on the ruling, which includes a deeper dive into the changes impacting language access that weren't covered in the HHS fact sheet. 

Our Reaction

LanguageLine® is disappointed that this action repeals and weakens important protections, including the elimination of the requirements around notices and taglines.

We remain optimistic that organizations have seen the benefits of including these important documents in their communications and will continue to do so.

About LanguageLine 

LanguageLine has been the world leader in innovative language-access solutions since 1982. The company sets the global standard for phone, video, and onsite interpreting, as well as translation of the written word. LanguageLine is trusted by more than 30,000 clients to enable communication with the limited English proficient, Deaf, and Hard of Hearing communities. LanguageLine provides the industry’s fastest and most dependable access to more than 35,000 professional linguists in 290-plus languages — 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Please do not hesitate to contact us!

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