Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs or activities. Covered Entities that receive Federal financial assistance from HHS are now required to post taglines (which indicate in various languages how an individual may obtain language assistance services) and  include a Notice of Nondiscrimination (“Nondiscrimination Notice”) in their “significant” publications and communications.  A Covered Entity’s HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices qualifies as a “significant” publication.  A Covered Entity may choose to continue to distribute its current stock of Notice of Privacy Practices forms that were printed prior to July 18, 2016, but are encouraged to include an insert of the required Notice with such forms.

In addition, Covered Entities are required to post hard copies of the Nondiscrimination Notice in public spaces of the office or facility and post the Nondiscrimination Notice on the entity’s Web site.  A Covered Entity may include a link in a conspicuous location on its Web site’s homepage that immediately directs an individual to the content of the Nondiscrimination Notice that is located elsewhere on the Web site.  Further, as an alternative to posting the full text of the taglines, Covered Entities may post  “in language” Web links conspicuously on the home page that direct an individual to the full text of the tagline.  Please note that the Nondiscrimination Notice must be in a “conspicuously-visible font size” so that patients and their families can reasonably be expected to see and read the information.

A Covered Entity is also required to submit to HHS an Assurance of Compliance form; and for a Covered Entity that has 15 or more employees, it must designate an employee as a compliance coordinator and adopt a written grievance procedure to comply with Section 1557.  

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