Three New York healthcare providers will supply interpreters for deaf patients under an agreement announced last month by the state attorney general.
"We expect these agreements to set examples and models for all hospitals and doctors' groups throughout the state," Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said in a written statement.
The agreement requires the health providers to supply interpreters for deaf patients within an hour for emergencies as well as for scheduled visits.
Spitzer began investigating the treatment of deaf patients after a number of them filed complaints that they were being denied interpreters and could not communicate with healthcare providers about their symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. He determined that this was a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The agreement covers Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York Community Hospital's inpatient facilities and emergency services in Brooklyn, and United Medical Associates, which has seven primary-care centers in Brooklyn.