DeKalb Regional Crisis Center will pay $60k settlement
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says that the DeKalb Regional Crisis Center has agreed to settle a complaint filed by a deaf patient who claimed the center violated the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Under the terms of the settlement, the Regional Crisis Center, located on Winn Way just outside the Decatur city limits, will pay the complainant $60,000. The patient, who is deaf, said that the Regional Crisis Center failed to provide her with a sign language interpreter.
According to a copy of the settlement agreement, the patient was admitted to the center after having suicidal thoughts. She requested a sign language interpreter but wasn’t provided one, the settlement says.
“The complainant further alleges when she requested a sign language interpreter, DeKalb Regional staff would insist complainant could hear and deny her request,” the settlement agreement says.
Under the terms of the settlement, DeKalb Regional denies the allegations and admits no wrongdoing. In addition to paying $60,000, the center “agreed to provide mandatory in-service training to all its personnel and provide reports to the United States Attorney’s Office regarding its compliance with the settlement agreement. The training will address the needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing patients and companions.”
“A person who is deaf or hard-of-hearing should be able to participate fully in his or her health care decisions,” U.S. Attorney John Horn said in the press release. “When a deaf patient is unable to understand what is happening during a medical visit or procedure, it can be a terrifying experience and adversely affect the quality of care. Access to medical care is a fundamental part of our society, and we will continue to devote resources to eradicate barriers to health care for persons with disabilities.”
Here is the full settlement agreement, provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.