Telehealth Providers Should Beware ADA Litigation

Law360

Frank C. Morris, Jr., and Shira M. Blank, Members of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, and New York offices, respectively, co-authored an article in Law360, titled “Telehealth Providers Should Beware ADA Litigation.” (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

One of the many changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has been the increased use of and reliance on telehealth in an effort to avoid in-person medical treatment while providing prompt care. This necessity for socially distanced provision of health care has quickly transformed a service that was simply convenient to one that is essential in order to obtain quality medical care in a safe environment.

Telehealth providers often use various types of technology available to provide services — both synchronous (i.e., live, real-time) and asynchronous (i.e., store and forward). While there are many benefits and potential pitfalls to such a transition to telehealth services, one potential problem that is oftentimes overlooked is whether the technology needed to access telehealth services is accessible to individuals with disabilities.

A failure in this regard may provide an opening for potential plaintiffs to assert claims against telehealth providers for failure to provide access to individuals who are blind or have low vision, or for failure to provide effective communication to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.