On July 31, 2015, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in Martin v. Halifax Healthcare Systems, Inc.This decision addresses the question, “must we provide round-the-clock, in-person ASL interpreters at the request of a deaf patient or caregiver?” This is one of the most frequently asked questions I get as Compliance Counsel from health systems and hospitals that frequently interact with deaf patients and caregivers.
The decision also provides meaningful insight on video remote interpreting, written notes, and other forms of communication with deaf patients and caregivers, especially during “down times,” those times in between visits from doctors and specialists when the patient really isn’t interacting with hospital staff.
On August 10, 2015, I conducted a 30-minute “mini-webinar” on this new decision, discussing the case itself and practical lessons that can be learned from it. If you missed the live event, please take 30 minutes to listen. Just click below, complete the short registration, and the webinar will begin playing:
Spoiler Alert! The court found in favor of Halifax during the Martin v. Halifax case, indicating that Halifax did not have to provide round-the-clock, live ASL interpreters, and that, under the circumstances presented for each of the three plaintiffs, writing notes, lip reading, gestures, using video remote interpreting, and even limited use of family and friends as interpreters can lead to effective communication. However, the court emphasized that these issues must be looked at on a case-by-case basis.