Washington Hospital Center Agreement
On November 2, 2005, the Department of Justice and Washington Hospital Center (WHC) signed an agreement under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure equal access to medical services for individuals with disabilities. This fact sheet sets out highlights of the agreement and should provide guidance to other medical providers on how to ensure that they are meeting the requirements of the ADA and providing non-discriminatory services to individuals with disabilities.
Highlights of the Agreement
Accessible Inpatient Rooms
- WHC has agreed to a goal of making 10% of the non-ICU inpatient rooms in the hospital accessible.
- Accessible rooms will include an accessible toilet room and will fully comply with the ADA (except for certain identified rooms which will be made as accessible as possible within existing space constraints).
- Over the next five years, it will make 35 of its approximately 600 rooms accessible; the majority of those rooms will be modified within the first two years. Additionally, WHC is contemplating creating a new hospital tower; if this tower is built, WHC will make accessible 25% of the non-ICU rooms in the tower. If the tower is not built, WHC will spend specified amounts to make other rooms accessible.
- WHC will purchase adjustable height beds for all of its accessible inpatient rooms, in order to facilitate more independent, safe transfer for wheelchair users, between their wheelchairs and the beds.
- When not operating at full capacity, WHC will hold open the accessible rooms for patients with disabilities.
- WHC will ensure that each department has at least one accessible examination table that lowers to 17-19 inches from the floor, to enable individuals who use wheelchairs to more easily and safely transfer to the examination equipment.
- WHC will survey all of the equipment in the hospital and purchase the equipment needed to ensure that individuals with disabilities receive equal access to medical services (e.g. exam tables and chairs, lifts, radiologic equipment, wheelchair scales).
Barrier Removal throughout Hospital
- WHC will survey all public areas of the hospital to identify barriers to access and will remove those barriers.
Complaint Process and ADA Officer
- WHC has appointed an ADA Officer to oversee the implementation of the agreement and to be responsible for WHCs compliance with the ADA and for resolving ADA complaints.
- WHC has outlined a complaint process for individuals with disabilities and assigned a chain of command to respond to complaints, so that problems encountered during a hospital stay can be addressed in a timely way.
- The phone number for ADA complaints will be listed in hospital information distributed to patients as well as on a sticker that will be placed on the telephones in inpatient rooms.
- WHC will review all of its policies and revise or add policies as necessary to ensure that it is meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities. Policies include effective communication for individuals with vision and hearing impairments, lifting techniques, service animals, individualized assessments for inpatients, communicating with individuals with cognitive impairments, and accessible shuttle bus service.
- WHC will appoint consultants to assist with policy and training development, the barrier removal survey, and the equipment survey.
- WHC will have an advisory resource group of persons with disabilities to advise WHC on policies, training, equipment purchases, and other issues.
- WHC will post a poster in each reception area and inpatient common area outlining patients rights and remedies under the ADA in a hospital setting.
- WHC will create an ADA Brochure to be distributed to all inpatients and outpatients, describing the equipment and services available to patients with disabilities, their rights and remedies, and the complaint process.
- All employees involved in direct patient assistance, including doctors, nurses, aides, receptionists, orderlies, and admissions staff, will receive training on providing equal access to medical services for patients with disabilities.
November 2, 2005