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CMS Issues New Rule to Address Discrimination in Health Care with AI Update

April 29, 2024

CMS and the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) have released a new final rule focused on advancing protections against discrimination in health care.

On Friday, OCR and CMS issued a final rule under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. Federal officials said the rule reduces “language access barriers, expands physical and digital accessibility, tackles bias in health technology, and much more.”

“Today’s rule is another important step toward our goal of health equity—toward the attainment of the highest level of health for all people, where everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their optimal health,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure.

Notably, the final rule:

  • Considers Medicare Part B payments as a form of federal financial assistance for purposes of triggering civil rights laws enforced by the department.
    • This ensures that health care providers and suppliers receiving Part B funds are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, age, sex, and disability.
  • Requires covered health care providers, insurers, grantees, and others, to let people know that language assistance and other accessibility services are available at no cost.
  • Clarifies telehealth accessibility requirements for individuals with limited English proficiency, and individuals with disabilities.
  • Codifies that Section 1557’s prohibition against discrimination based on sex includes LGTBQI+ patients.
  • Clarifies nondiscrimination in health programs applies to the use of AI, clinical algorithms, predictive analytics, and other tools.

Learn more about Section 1557. The final rule is available online.