HHS Issues New Proposed Rule to Strengthen Prohibitions Against Discrimination on the Basis of a Disability in Health Care and Human Services Programs

Sept 7, 2023

Significant updates to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act rule 50 years after the law was enacted to advance equity and bolster protections for people with disabilities

The Biden-Harris Administration is taking further action on its commitment to promote access to health care and human services for persons with disabilities. Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through its Office for Civil Rights (OCR), announced a proposed rule that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability.  The rule, Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance, updates critical provisions that help persons with disabilities access health and human services under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  The rule, originally published in 1977, advances the promise of the Rehabilitation Act and helps to ensure that people with disabilities are not subjected to discrimination in any program or activity receiving funding from HHS just because they have a disability. 

“It’s 2023, yet for many Americans accessing basic health needs is still challenging.  Some persons with disabilities may have to drive hours to get an accessible mammogram or receive the benefit and advancements of our health care system.  This historic proposed rule will advance justice for people with disabilities and help ensure they are not subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving funding from HHS just because they have a disability,” said Secretary Xavier Becerra. “We celebrate the inclusion and access promoted by this landmark civil rights law for people with disabilities, by taking action in this proposed regulation to clarify and strengthen the protections afforded by Section 504, reflecting over fifty years of advocacy by the disability community.”