Providence Health System – Southern California, which operates Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, has entered into a settlement with the United States, agreeing to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by ensuring effective communication for patients who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The settlement, finalized on Aug. 28, resolves allegations that Providence failed to provide a qualified sign language interpreter or other appropriate assistance to an elderly deaf patient who went to the San Fernando Valley facility on four consecutive days for medical tests and procedures.

The patient’s adult children had to take time off work — and one had to fly across the country — to interpret for the patient, including during consultations that included complex medical terms the patient’s children struggled to interpret. One of the patient’s children even had to wear a hairnet and surgical mask to interpret just before a procedure.

The settlement requires Providence to do the following:

· Provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified interpreters, where necessary to ensure effective communication to patients and their companions who are deaf or hard of hearing;

· Advertise the availability of auxiliary aids and services;

·         Designate an ADA Coordinator to ensure access to appropriate auxiliary aids and services necessary for effective communication;

· Train staff on the appropriate and timely use of auxiliary aids and services, including qualified interpreters, to ensure effective communication;

· Conduct individualized assessments for patients who are deaf or hard of hearing to determine what auxiliary aids and services are best suited for their needs; and

·  Pay $100,000 in compensation to the patient and his family.

Assistant US Attorney Matthew Nickell of the Civil Division’s Civil Rights Section handled this matter. Providence cooperated with the government’s investigation.