Enforcement of Title VI – Voluntary Resolution Agreements
Recently, two medical facilities took action to improve their language assistance services after being investigated by the Office for Civil Rights in regards to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Shenandoah Memorial Hospital in Virginia and Memorial Health System in Colorado Springs signed a Voluntary Resolution Agreement to provide meaningful access to their Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients.
In the Voluntary Resolution Agreements, each facility outlines specific plans to provide meaningful access to LEP patients through language services. Such plans include:
• Appointing a language assistance coordinator
• Development of an LEP policy
• Assessment of linguistic needs
• Notification to LEP population of free language services
• Complaint procedure development
• Employee training
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in federally funded government agencies on the ground of race, color, and national origin. Title VI keeps federally funded agencies and activities accountable to provide committed and meaningful access to individuals including LEP persons.
Meaningful access may have different connotations to each facility. It is essential for facilities to evaluate their current resources to determine the appropriate measures taken to comply with Title VI and to improve accommodations for LEP populations.
Information on how to implement a strategic plan may be found at www.lep.gov.