Ensure compliance with OCR's final rule on Section 1557

Dentists participating as providers in the Denti-Cal program, along with provider entities who have received “meaningful use” funding from HHS and those dentists who participate as Medicare Part C plan providers, should be fully complying with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights’ final rule concerning Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.

Dentists were required to begin complying with different, specific elements of the OCR’s final rule on two dates — July 18 and Oct. 16. By the October deadline, dentists were to post a Notice of Nondiscrimination in several places, along with taglines in the top 15 non-English languages spoken in California. (For details about the compliance requirements, see the articles in the August and September issues of the CDA Update and at cda.org.)

To ensure continued compliance with the rule, dentists can refer to CDA’s California-specific resource, Nondiscrimination Requirements Under the Affordable Care Act (Section 1557). The resource provides:

  • Detailed background on the ACA provision and new OCR rule.
  • Checklist, instructions and recommended practices to follow to meet the compliance requirements.
  • Sample grievance procedure and notice of nondiscrimination forms.
  • Questions and answers, and a list of additional resources.

Section 1557, in effect since 2010, is the ACA’s nondiscrimination provision, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in certain health programs and activities. The final OCR rule, issued in May, aims to educate consumers about their rights and help covered entities understand their obligations under Section 1557.

Enforcement of Section 1557's requirements is the responsibility of the Office for Civil Rights. Noncompliance may lead to suspension or termination of federal financial assistance. In addition, Section 1557 provides for private enforcement by allowing an individual to bring a private cause of action.

CDA compliance resources can be downloaded at cda.org/practicesupport. The American Dental Association also has Section 1557 sample notices and taglines and an FAQ on its website (login required).

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Now, in one handy place, CDA members can find the details, deadlines and resources they need to ensure their dental practice is in compliance with upcoming laws and regulations. On the main Practice Support webpage, the new “Are You in Compliance” section lists laws and regulations that dental practices will need to comply with.

CDA has developed California-specific resources to assist dentists in meeting the Oct. 16 deadline for compliance with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights’ final rule concerning Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.

Abuse represents a spectrum of behavior. It is repetitive in nature and fatal abuse is often preceded by minor manifestations of maltreatment, which could be overlooked by dentists and their staff. Under California law, each person licensed by the Dental Board of California and Dental Hygiene Committee of California is a “mandated reporter” for known or suspected abuse or neglect of a child, elder or dependent adult and incidents of violence.