Northwest Hospital and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community Partners to Ensure Effective Communication during Health Care

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Seattle, WA—May 16, 2017—Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) today announces an agreement with Northwest Hospital & Medical Center.  Over the last several months, Northwest Hospital, DRA, three individual members of Seattle’s Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing (DDBHH) community, and Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS)  have worked together to ensure that Northwest Hospital’s outstanding, patient-focused healthcare services are accessible to individuals who are Deaf and hard of hearing.

Northwest Hospital is a community hospital that serves a diverse population in the north end of Seattle and provides an array of services, including ambulatory clinics, an emergency room, and an acute care hospital.  It has been in operation since 1960, and affiliated with the University of Washington Medicine Health System in 2010.

As a result of Northwest Hospital’s collaboration with members of the DDBHH community, the Hospital will improve its policies and procedures for the 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 and answering staff members’ questions about auxiliary aids and services.  Northwest Hospital has agreed to monitor interpreter response times, and will maintain a contract with the Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center as well as several other companies to provide interpreters for Northwest Hospital’s patients and their companions. Camille Peterson, a DeafBlind Seattleite who worked with Northwest Hospital to develop the agreement says, “I hope other healthcare facilities throughout Seattle will look to these policies at Northwest Hospital as a standard for providing effective communication to our city’s diverse DDBHH community.”

“Northwest Hospital’s commitment to the Seattle community is notable, and we are pleased that the Hospital has continued that commitment through these steps for the benefit of Seattle’s large Deaf and hard of hearing community,” said DRA Staff Attorney Meredith Weaver.

ADWAS serves Deaf and hard of hearing survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their children. Its office and supportive housing program are located about two miles from Northwest Hospital—the closest emergency room.  Tiffany Williams, Executive Director of ADWAS stated, “Northwest Hospital is taking a big step forward with this agreement to both establish and, crucially, follow model protocols to ensure their services are accessible to Deaf consumers. ADWAS looks forward to the agreement’s successful implementation so that our survivors no longer face barriers to medical care.”

A copy of the agreement reached by Northwest Hospital and members of the Deaf community can be viewed below.

About Disability Rights Advocates (DRA)

DRA is one of the leading non-profit disability rights legal centers in the nation. DRA’s mission is to advance equal rights and opportunities for people with all types of disabilities nationwide. To advance that mission, DRA regularly advocates for greater access to healthcare services for individuals with disabilities. For more information, visit

About Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS)

ADWAS–serving the community for 31 years–is the first agency in the nation to serve Deaf and DeafBlind individuals and children experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault. ADWAS provides comprehensive services which include Advocacy, Counseling, a 24-hour crisis line, and an Outreach/Education program. The Supportive Housing program hosts 19 units of low-income housing for women and their children. ADWAS is located in Seattle, Washington. For more information please visit

About The Good Law Clinic

The Good Law Clinic is a civil rights firm committed to the ideal of equality in our society. These laws demand equal treatment for all persons regardless of membership in protected classes that may include disability, race, color, gender, religion, age, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. We are dedicated to promoting these rights in housing, government services, business, transportation, and employment. For more information, visit


Meredith J. Weaver
Disability Rights Advocates
(510) 665-8644