Americans with Disabilities Act

As DPC physicians we need to have ways for patients with hearing, speech, and vision disabilities to communicate. The ADA applies to sign language interpretation needs and has issued this guidance on the matter.  It also applies to ways in which patients with transportation difficulties may physically access your office. Ramps/lifts/signs and other access challenges should be contemplated. There is new litigation in this area about the duty to ensure the blind and disabled can use your website (hundreds of claims have been filed in 2018 in NY State alone, alleging websites are not accessible to the disabled).

Does a practice need to have translator services to patients without a disability (those that merely do not speak English)?

Not unless you are also accepting federal funding. The law firm of Snell and Wilmer put together a nice overview about language interpretation obligations and they are indeed tied to acceptance of federal funding. Those looking to purchase interpreting services should review “Appropriate Use of Medical Interpreters” Am Fam Physician. 2014 Oct 1;90(7):476-480.