Christus Trinity Mother Frances Health System on Thursday reached a settlement with federal regulators over allegations that it failed to provide hearing-impaired patients with adequate assistance.
Christus TMF agreed to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services to patients who are deaf or hard of hearing, according to the agreement.
HHS' Office of Civil Rights opened a compliance review of the Tyler, Texas-based health system in 2018 after receiving a complaint that the health system didn't provide timely interpreter services for a patient despite multiple requests. Other patients lodged similar complaints to the agency.
Christus TMF agreed to take steps to improve its policies and procedures to better assess patients' need for hearing-impaired assistance. The health system also agreed to provide necessary hearing aids and services quicker as well as provide annual training for staff to ensure they can communicate with hearing-impaired patients.
"Good healthcare starts with effective communication and this agreement helps eliminate unnecessary barriers to equal treatment for persons who are deaf of hard of hearing," OCR director Roger Severino said in a released statement.
Christus TMF will also conduct outreach to local disability organizations about its available services and revise its procedures so patients can lodge complaints about non-compliance. Christus TMF will submit reports to OCR for three years about its compliance efforts.
The agreement does not admit to any wrongdoing, OCT said.
Christus TMF includes six hospitals and more than 30 clinics and outpatient centers in Texas. It is a part of Christus Health.
"We voluntarily agreed to this resolution because we want to do everything we can to ensure that patients who are deaf or hard of hearing receive effective communication," a Christus TMF spokesman said in a statement.