National Federation of the Blind and Disability Advocates Charge Federal Health Agency with Civil Rights Violations

NFB and Disability Advocates Charge Federal Health Agency with Civil Rights ViolationsAfter forty years of the federal Rehabilitation Act and a new world of technology, blind people still forced to rely on others to read inaccessible materials

The National Federation of the Blind and individual plaintiffs Juan Figueroa, Derek Manners, and Martti Mallinen have filed a major federal lawsuit in US District Court, District of Massachusetts, Western Division. The lawsuit charges the US Department of Health and Human Services through its sub-agency, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and its CMS sub-contractors, with systemically violating the civil rights of blind Medicare recipients. The action seeks to require HHS to provide blind individuals meaningful and equally effective access to their Medicare information. CMS, a sub-agency of HHS, is the largest single payer for health care in the United States, providing health care coverage to nearly ninety million Americans through Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

CMS regularly communicates information to blind persons via inaccessible print and electronic formats which they cannot read, thus leaving them at risk for loss of benefits, healthcare disruption, and potentially adversely affecting appeal rights.

Dan Goldstein & Jessie Weber are representing the plaintiffs.

Download PDF of NFB’s press release.