Facility Refuses Deaf Patient

A former patient at the Rockford Center alleges that the facility violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 by failing to provide auxiliary aids and services for deaf individuals.The patient was referred to the Rockford Center’s intensive outpatient program by Christiana Hospital (a non-UHS facility), but when Christiana personnel tried to arrange a referral they were informed by several staff members at Rockford that an interpreter would not be provided. Rockford Center’s Director of Admissions allegedly stated that Rockford would not provide an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter either to assess the patient’s condition or to enable her participation in the outpatient treatment programs and would instead, have to rely upon family members for communication. The Plaintiff claims the Admissions Director stated that “Rockford would only provide interpreter services to patients involuntarily committed by the State, and was not obligated to provide ASL interpreters to patients voluntarily seeking services.”  The Plaintiff  claims that the facility has “a policy, practice, and custom of refusing to provide American Sign Language (“ASL”) interpreters in their voluntary outpatient program when necessary to effectively communicate with people who are deaf.” This failure, she claims, “caused Plaintiff to be denied full and equal enjoyment of the services at Defendants’ facility” and has “delayed Plaintiff receiving psychiatric care.” The case was settled in October 2012.