The UNC Health Care System has agreed to pay $125,000 in damages as part of the settlement of legal claims involving plaintiffs that include blind patients, according to a press release issued Thursday by two advocacy groups.
As part of the settlement involving the National Federation for the Rights of the Blind and Disabled NC, the UNC system admitted violating federal disability rights laws because it failed to provide materials written in Braille, in large print or other accessible formats.
Advocacy groups and individual plaintiffs claimed the system “systematically discriminates against people who are blind by failing to provide them with written information in formats they can access…that allow them to fully participate in their care and pay their medical bills in a timely manner”.
UNC Health said in a statement that it is “committed to providing excellent and equitable care to all of our patients and their families. We have gone to great lengths to accommodate our visually impaired patients.”
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The settlement follows a magistrate’s recommendation that UNC Health be held liable for violating federal disability rights laws for its failure to provide equally effective communication with blind patients.
Advocacy groups said the litigation will continue to determine what policy changes UNC Health will need to implement to ensure future compliance with federal disability rights laws.