HHS Issues Historic Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Section 504 of the...

HHS Issues Historic Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Last week, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra hosted a press conference to announce a rule proposed by the HHS Office for Civil Rights that would update Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This is the first time these critical regulations will have been updated since they were originally signed in 1977, after four years of tireless advocacy and a 28-day protest led by disability civil rights leaders.

Updates to the rule include:

  • Clarifications on the obligations to provide services in the most integrated setting appropriate to a person’s needs, consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C;
  • Medical treatment decisions are not based on biases or stereotypes about people with disabilities, judgments that an individual will be a burden on others, or beliefs that the life of an individual with a disability has less value than the life of a person without a disability;
  • Adoption of standards for accessible diagnostic medical treatment;
  • Adoption of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, Level AA, which are accessibility standards for websites and mobile applications;
  • Clarification of requirements in HHS-funded child welfare programs and activities to help eliminate discriminatory barriers faced by children, parents, caregivers, foster parents, and prospective parents with disabilities; and
  • Prohibition of the use of value-of-life assessments in treatment decisions.

Read the official announcement, full rule, fact sheet, and instructions on how to provide comments on the HHS website. If you have any questions, please contact Fady Sahhar.

Fady is responsible for policy and regulatory matters related to Physical Disabilities and Aging, with primary focus on personal assistance, employment services, and service coordination. Emphasis is placed on engaging the Office of Long-Term Living and the Community HealthChoices Managed Care Organizations, coordination of care with Behavioral HealthChoices MCOs, and collaborations with other advocacy and provider associations. Fady is also the President / CEO of ProVantaCare, an RCPA-affiliated company focused on contracting with MCOs, and is the President of XtraGlobex, a consulting firm focused on Value-Based Payment contracting. He brings extensive experience in the advocacy and operations of human services providers in physical disabilities and aging, from his role at Liberty Resources, Inc., and his service with a number of nonprofit services providers. He earned an MBA in Marketing from The University of Tennessee and a PhD in Organizational Leadership from Capella University.