HHS Issues Final Section 1557 Rule Revisions

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • Jul 1, 2020
On June 19, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a final rule to amend Section 1557 regulations of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The revisions remove the requirement for health care providers to send notices and taglines on nondiscrimination and language assistance services in all "significant communications." However, HHS will continue to require that covered entities provide beneficiaries with a written notice of nondiscrimination.
Providers were previously required to post a notice regarding their nondiscrimination policy in English, along with taglines in the 15 non-English languages most commonly spoken in their state. HHS has said that "These expensive notices have not generally proven effective at accomplishing their purpose of providing meaningful language access to healthcare."
Additionally, HHS will now permit remote English-language interpreting services to be audio-based rather than requiring them to be video-based. HHS will still require a video if a video connection is necessary to provide meaningful access to limited English proficiency (LEP) individuals (e.g., for LEP individuals who are also deaf or hard of hearing).
Impact on General Dentistry: AGD is pleased that HHS has helped reduce the regulatory burdens imposed on dentists, which can significantly increase the cost of providing care to patients. HHS noted in the final rule that they received comments underscoring that the dental profession has spent over $240 million to date on compliance with the 2016 Rule. They also noted comments stating that the revised requirements will result in cost savings and will allow staff to devote time to appropriate patient care and communication instead.