Arizona hospital settles complaint over lack of sign language interpreter
PHOENIX – A Flagstaff hospital agreed to pay $50,000 to a patient who accused the facility of discrimination for failing to provide a sign language interpreter, authorities said Tuesday.
Flagstaff Regional Medical Center, a subsidiary of Northern Arizona Healthcare, also paid a civil fine of $2,500 to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office as part of a settlement finalized in June.
Rufus Neal of Holbrook filed a Arizonans with Disabilities Act claim against the health care network on April 22, 2020.
He accused Flagstaff Regional of discriminating against him by not providing American Sign Language interpretation while he was a patient there for about two weeks.
As part of the settlement, Northern Arizona Healthcare also agreed to update its policies and training procedures for accommodating patients who are deaf or hard of hearing.
“Effective communication is necessary for patients to actively participate in their medical care,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a press release.
“The Arizonans with Disabilities Act ensures that Arizonans with disabilities have the same opportunity as everyone else to receive medical care based on their individual needs.”