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Ann Marie T. Sullivan, M.D., Acting Commissioner
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Communication Needs of Persons Who Are Non-English Speaking, Deaf or Hard of Hearing

All facilities that are licensed or operated by the Office of Mental Health are reminded of the need to comply with Section 527.4 of 14 NYCRR: 527.4 Communication needs.

  1. No facility shall deny care and treatment to, or otherwise discriminate against, persons who are non-English speaking, deaf or hard-of-hearing.
  2. Each facility shall facilitate access to services by persons who are non-English speaking, deaf or hard-of-hearing. Such persons shall include:
    1. persons who seek or are referred to the facility's services; and
    2. persons who receive the facility's services.
  3. In addressing the communication needs of persons who are non-English speaking, deaf or hard-of-hearing in accordance with subdivisions (a) - (b) of this section, each facility shall take reasonable steps to ensure that:
    1. the overall quality and level of services are equal to that made available to all other recipients;
    2. necessary steps are taken to provide information in appropriate languages;
    3. the timely availability of interpreters is provided, when necessary for effective communication;
    4. persons serving as interpreters are sufficiently competent to ensure effective communication. Such interpreters may include, but are not limited to, facility staff, community volunteers or contractors. In no event shall recipients be charged for the use of interpreter services;
    5. effective communication with non-English speaking persons is provided in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 USC 2000d). Said law is published by the West Publishing Company, St. Paul, MN and is available for review at the Department of State, Office of Information Services, 41 State Street, Albany, NY 12207, and the Office of Mental Health, Counsel's Office, 44 Holland Avenue, Albany, NY 12229; and
    6. effective communication with persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing is provided in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (Public Law 101-336). Said law is published by the West Publishing Company, St. Paul, MN and is available for review at the Department of State, Office of Information Services, 41 State Street, Albany, NY 12207, and the Office of Mental Health, Counsel's Office, 44 Holland Avenue, Albany, NY 12229.
  4. A recipient's family member or significant other may serve as an interpreter for the recipient if the recipient and family member/significant other agree to the arrangement, the arrangement is clinically appropriate, and the recipient has been informed of the option of using an alternative interpreter identified by the facility. Providers shall not predicate service delivery on the use of family members or significant others as interpreters.
  5. Plans of treatment or services developed for persons who are non- English speaking, deaf or hard-of-hearing, or who, for any cause, are unable to read or write, shall identify any significant related impact on such persons' functioning and treatment, and identify associated recommendations for treatment, including any reasonable accommodations.