October 2, 2023

This March we commemorate the various achievements and contributions that thousands and thousands of girls have supplied to society.  Girls make up 50.5% of the U.S. inhabitants, and regardless of this there are nonetheless vital disparities skilled throughout how we entry the healthcare system, the work drive, and different locations throughout our world.1  For instance:

  • For each greenback a non-Latino white man makes, Hispanic girls make solely 55 cents – the most important wage hole skilled by any main racial or ethnic group in america.2
  • Black and American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) girls expertise considerably larger charges of maternal morbidity and mortality than White girls.3
  • Transgender girls expertise larger charges of violent victimization than cisgender girls.4

My workplace, the HHS Workplace for Civil Rights, works to deal with such inequities and assist work in the direction of justice in our well being and human companies applications right here on the Division.  I work with my colleagues throughout the U.S. authorities, to assist coordinate and work collectively to assist advance federal companies free from discrimination. The Workplace for Civil Rights enforces a variety of Federal antidiscrimination legal guidelines—together with Part 1557 of the Inexpensive Care Act and particular program statutes—that shield all girls, whether or not they have a incapacity, determine as LGBTQI+, or just want entry to well being care.  OCR additionally works with companies throughout the Division to advance well being fairness for girls and ladies by encouraging enrollment in free and low-cost healthcare and protection, together with however not restricted to Medicare; Medicaid; the Youngsters’s’ Well being Insurance coverage Program; the Inexpensive Care Act’s Market; the Well being Sources Companies Administration’s (HRSA) well being facilities; and hospitals, nursing properties, and outpatient amenities coated below the Hill-Burton Act. 

Right now, we remind girls about these legal guidelines which assist them entry well being and human companies free from discrimination.  Some key steering and enforcement work is:

  • On June 1, 2022, we entered right into a voluntary decision settlement with the College of Southern California (USC) and Keck Medication of USC, which requires: the supervision of medical chaperones for delicate well being examinations; notification to college students of their civil rights and USC’s grievance procedures; and sexual harassment prevention coaching for college and workers pursuant to Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the idea of intercourse.
  • In June 2022, OCR issued steering on how coated well being care suppliers and well being plans can use distant communication applied sciences to supply audio-only telehealth companies in compliance with HIPAA Guidelines.
  • In June 2022 OCR issued steering on HIPAA and Disclosures of Info Regarding Reproductive Well being Care, to make sure that coated entities perceive that the HIPAA Privateness Rule permits, when sure circumstances are met, however doesn’t require that protected well being data be disclosed to legislation enforcement.  OCR additionally issued steering for customers on defending the privateness and safety of well being data when utilizing your private cellphone or pill.
  • In July 2022, OCR issued steering on federal protections to make sure that individuals with disabilities and people with restricted English proficiency have entry to telehealth.
  • In July 2022, after listening to studies of sufferers unable to entry vital medicines, HHS issued steering to roughly 60,000 U.S. retail pharmacies, clarifying their obligations below federal civil rights legal guidelines to make sure non-discrimination on the idea of intercourse or incapacity.
  • On August 4, 2022, OCR revealed the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for Section 1557 within the Federal Register. The NPRM proposes to reinstate broad protections below Part 1557, together with particular provisions associated to non-discrimination on the idea of intercourse (together with being pregnant, sexual orientation, and gender id). OCR anticipates that this rulemaking will end in vital advantages by offering clear steering to well being care suppliers on easy methods to stop and deal with discrimination.
  • OCR relaunched the Language Entry Steering Committee in October 2022 and is working to make sure that LEP individuals have significant entry to HHS-administered well being and human companies applications and actions.
  • OCR issued a bulletin on December 1, 2022, reminding regulated entities they don’t seem to be permitted to make use of on-line monitoring applied sciences in a way that will end in impermissible disclosures of ePHI to monitoring know-how distributors or another violations of the HIPAA Guidelines.

I’m profoundly grateful for the various advances the ladies’s motion has made in my life, and I’m dedicated to making sure that each one of our rights are enforced and guarded.

Melanie Fontes Rainer
Director, Workplace for Civil Rights
U.S. Division of Well being and Human Companies


1 U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: United States

2 Women’s earnings by race and ethnicity as a percentage of White, non-Hispanic men’s earnings, 1988-2021, U.S. Department of Labor

3 Doula Care and Maternal Health: An Evidence Review, HHS Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Office of Health Policy; 12-13-22

4 Violent Victimization by Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, 2017–2020, Bureau of Justice Statistics, June 2022