Proposed changes to federal nondiscrimination laws (Section 1557)

August 10, 2022

In late July the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced proposed rule to strengthen federal laws on nondiscrimination in health care. Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability in certain health programs and activities. In 2020, the last administration significantly narrowed the scope of the rule. The new proposed changes aim to strengthen the civil rights protections for patients and consumers in federally funded and HHS health programs.

A fact sheet published by HHS provides the details of each element of the proposed rule. Of particular note are:

  • Elements clarifying that sex discrimination includes pregnancy and pregnancy termination.
  • New requirement that covered entities have Section 1557 policies and provide staff training.
  • New requirements related to nondiscrimination in the use of clinical algorithms used in decision making.

The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register Aug. 4. Public comments on the proposed rule may be submitted here and are due by Oct. 3, 2022. (Zosia Stanley)


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