Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services, et al. v. Northwest Hospital & Medical Center et al.
Northwest Hospital & Medical Center has agreed to implement policy changes to ensure that its patient-focused healthcare services are accessible to individuals who are Deaf and hard of hearing.
Hospitals are required to provide patients and companions with auxiliary aids and services—such as qualified sign language interpreters or assistive listening devices—that are necessary for effective communication and to modify policies where necessary. Without effective communication, patients who are Deaf or hard of hearing are often unable to provide or receive essential information for treatment.
In July 2016, Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS) and three individuals, represented by DRA and The Good Law Clinic, filed a lawsuit alleging that Northwest Hospital, an affiliate of the UW Medicine Health System failed to provide effective communication to people who are Deaf and hard of hearing. As a result of Northwest Hospital’s collaboration with ADWAS and members of the Deaf and hard of hearing community, the Hospital will improve its policies and procedures for the timely provision of effective communication to patients and their companions, train all staff members who interact with patients on these policies and procedures, and designate coordinators responsible for maintaining auxiliary aids and services and answering staff members’ questions about such aids and services.