Flagstaff, Arizona - Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced Tuesday that the Arizona Civil Rights Section of the Civil Litigation AGO (AGO) settled an Arizonans with Disabilities Act charge against Northern Arizona Healthcare’s subsidiary, Flagstaff Regional Medical Center.

On April 22, 2020, Rufus Neal filed an Arizonans with Disabilities Act charge alleging Northern Arizona Healthcare discriminated against him by failing to provide American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation for Neal while he was admitted as a patient at Flagstaff Medical Center. 

“Effective communication is necessary for patients to actively participate in their medical care,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “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."

Pursuant to the conciliation agreement, Northern Arizona Healthcare paid $50,000 to Neal and a $2,500 civil penalty to the AGO. The agreement also requires injunctive relief:

  • to prohibit future disability discrimination and provide reasonable accommodations as required by the Arizonans with Disabilities Act;
  • requires auxiliary aids and services necessary for effective communication, including in-person qualified ASL interpreters and qualified ASL interpreters via Video Remote Interpretation (VRI) for patients who are Deaf or hard of hearing; and
  • mandates training for staff members to promptly identify communication needs of Deaf and hard of hearing patients, including how to assess when in-person qualified ASL interpreters and qualified ASL interpreters via VRI are appropriate and effective. 

Copy of the conciliation agreement here.