NC Medicaid is partnering with the Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DSDHH) to help Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind North Carolinians have communication access for healthcare appointments. DSDHH’s vision for this service is to ensure effective communication between patients and providers, improving the health outcomes of the patient’s and/or their companions’ (e.g., parents, spouses, etc.) with hearing loss. Through this initiative, DSDHH will reimburse healthcare providers for covered services and provide free training and guidance to registered healthcare providers.
Healthcare providers have a legal responsibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services to ensure that communication with people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing or DeafBlind is as effective as communication with those without hearing loss. DSDHH will assist healthcare providers in providing these services and give the necessary training and consultation to ensure communication is effective. Providers must register for this initiative in order to start receiving assistance from DSDHH.
Auxiliary aids and services are available to patients and their companions that include but are not limited to:
- Sign Language interpreters (e.g., Tactile ASL interpreting)
- Cued language transliteration
- Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART)
- Personal amplification listening devices (ALDs)
As a Deaf, Hard of Hearing or DeafBlind patient and/or companion, do you want to benefit from communication access services at your appointment? Please inform your healthcare provider. If you are unsure what accommodation best match your needs, or if you experience barriers, please reach out to your local Regional Center for assistance.
SSPs are trained professionals who guide and provide visual/environmental information to a person who is DeafBlind. They also can provide transportation services for the DeafBlind individual to arrive to their appointment. The SSP works with a qualified, licensed interpreter to provide effective communication. DSDHH will pay for SSP services for qualified healthcare appointments. Please contact your local Regional Center to learn more about this service and how to schedule your appointment.
Through this initiative, DSDHH will offer training and education at no-cost to providers who are registered. Communication access services like sign language interpreting and CART are crucial in ensuring Deaf, Hard of Hearing or DeafBlind patients and/or companions have effective communication access. It is important that healthcare providers receive training and education on how to effectively work with the communication access providers, be confident in communicating with patients and/or companions with hearing loss. Please contact the Medicaid Communication Access Coordinator for more information at DSDHH.Medicaid.CommAccess@dhhs.nc.gov or call (984) 884-1093.