RALEIGH, NC — The UNC health care system will pay $125,000 in damages and admit violating federal disability rights laws to settle blind patients’ legal claims that UNC Health does not provide written documentation in braille, large print or electronic formats that are more accessible.
The National Federation of the Blind, Disability Rights North Carolina, along with patients Timothy Miles and John Bone, allege that the UNC health care system systematically discriminates against blind patients by not providing them with written information in formats which they can access.
Miles, a longtime UNC Health patient, said he repeatedly requested large-format patient history forms, post-visit summaries, billing information and other written communications, but that he continued to receive them in standard print.
Bone, another patient, received emergency care at Nash General Hospital, a subsidiary of UNC Health, where he received bills and other communications regarding his care in standard print after repeatedly requesting information in braille. He also said he never received this information in a timely manner.
The settlement came after a magistrate judge recommended that UNC Health be held liable for violating federal disability rights laws for failing to provide effective communication to blind patients.
After the settlement, the lawsuit will continue to determine policy changes to ensure UNC Health complies with federal disability rights laws requiring health care providers to communicate as effectively with blind patients as they do with blind patients. people without disabilities.
“With today’s technology, providing bills, medical records and treatment instructions in alternative formats, such as Braille and large print, is easily achievable,” said Federation President Mark Riccobono. national blind.
Riccobono said the National Federation of the Blind is happy to work with health care providers who want guidance on providing medical information in accessible formats.
“Navigating the health care system is hard enough. Denying blind patients equal access to information about their health care by failing to put the information in formats that are accessible to them not only violates the law, but puts their health at unconscionable risk,” Virginia said. Knowlton Marcus, CEO of Disability Rights North Carolina.
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