United Spinal Association et al. v. Beth Israel Medical Center et al.
In October 2017, Disability Rights Advocates and Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, on behalf of United Spinal Association, Inc. and four individuals with mobility, vision, and hearing disabilities, settled a federal class action lawsuit against Beth Israel Medical Center, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, and Continuum Health Partners. The hospitals are now part of the Mount Sinai Health System.
The settlement agreement contains a comprehensive remedial plan to improve access to health care for patients and hospital visitors with disabilities in the following ways:
- Identifying and remediating architectural barriers at more than 10 separate hospitals and outpatient facilities in Manhattan and Brooklyn operated by the Heritage Continuum Hospitals.
- Identifying existing accessible medical equipment and purchasing additional accessible medical equipment where needed, such as adjustable-height examination tables that people with mobility disabilities can use independently and accessible weight scales.
- Developing and implementing policies and procedures to ensure equal healthcare access for patients and visitors with disabilities in numerous areas, including access to documents in alternative formats for people with vision disabilities, providing sign language interpreters for Deaf individuals, access for individuals with service animals, and handling patient complaints.
People with disabilities often receive less effective health care when hospitals and outpatient facilities fail to fix architectural barriers and do not implement policies for treating patients with disabilities. As a result of structured settlement negotiations, DRA looks forward to seeing significant progress in the rights of people with disabilities at the hospitals and to improving the quality of patient care.