Commenting today on a proposed rule that would reinstate certain regulatory protections against discrimination in health care programs and activities under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act that the prior Administration removed in 2020, AHA said hospitals and health systems remain committed to diversity, inclusion and health equity.
 
“After the Department issued its second Section 1557 rule in June 2020, the AHA comments stated: ‘Hospitals and health systems value every individual we have the privilege of serving, regardless of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity. That is why we urged the administration to not move forward with changes to non-discrimination protections. We are deeply disappointed that this rule weakens important protections for patients and could limit coverage. Treating all with dignity and respect will continue to guide us in everything we do.’ Those principles apply to this proposed rule.”
 
Among other comments, AHA also suggested HHS replace the proposed rule’s blanket mandate to provide translation services in 15 different languages “with a more flexible standard permitting a precise focus on languages spoken in the particular communities served.” In addition, it encouraged the agency to ensure that the final rule supports the appropriate use of race and/or other characteristics in clinical decision-making.
 
“Given the cutting-edge nature of algorithms and the nuanced role they may play in the provision of medicine,” the letter explained, “it is vital that non-discriminatory and beneficial uses of such algorithms not be over-deterred.”

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