Industry News

OCR Requests Information on Anti-Discrimination Regulations Under PPACA.

Jennifer Kirchner | August 2013

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is seeking information on Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  The provision that prohibits discrimination on the ground of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability under any program receiving federal financial assistance or any program administered by an Executive Agency or established under Title I of PPACA.  OCR seeks information to help it promulgate regulations to implement Section 1557.  Section 1557 creates many unique legal and policy issues, as it is the first Federal civil rights law to regulate sex discrimination in health care.  It also applies to the Health Insurance Marketplaces, newly created under PPACA. 

OCR requests information from state and local agencies, health care providers, health insurers, health programs, organizations serving and representing individuals protected from discrimination under Section 1557, and other interested parties on the following issues:

  • Examples of, experience with, and impacts of discrimination in health programs and activities;
  • Examples of health programs and activities, including less common types of programs;
  • What exceptions, if any, should apply in the application of discrimination on the basis of sex;
  • Access to electronic and information technology for individuals with disabilities; and
  • Language assistance services for persons with limited English proficiency.

Comments must be submitted by September 30, 2013. 

The OCR Request for Information is available at:

Comments can be submitted at:!documentDetail;D=HHS_FRDOC_0001-0512.

Request for Information Regarding Nondiscrimination in Certain Health Programs or Activities; 78 Fed. Reg. 148, 46558, 46558 (Aug. 1, 2013).

About the Author

Jennifer Kirchner is a licensed attorney in Illinois and Wisconsin. Ms. Kirchner has expertise in assessing provider compliance with the Anti-Kickback Statute, Stark Law, the False Claims Act, HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules and clinical research laws and regulations.