Non-Discrimination Policy and Procedures

Discrimination is Against the Law

It is the policy of the Agency of Human Services (AHS) and its departments, including the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. AHS has adopted an internal grievance procedure providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18116) and its implementing regulations at 45 CFR part 92, issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Section 1557 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex in certain health programs and activities. Section 1557 and its implementing regulations may be examined in the office of the Health Program Civil Rights Coordinator, Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) Legal Department, 280 State Drive, NOB 1 South, Waterbury, VT 05671-1010, Phone: (802) 241-0454, Fax: (802) 241-0260, E-mail: AHS.DVHALegal@vermont.gov, who has been designated to coordinate the efforts of AHS to comply with Section 1557.

Any person who believes someone has been subjected to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability may file a grievance under this procedure. It is against the law for AHS and its departments to retaliate against anyone who opposes discrimination, files a grievance, or participates in the investigation of a grievance.

Procedure:

  • Grievances must be submitted to the Health Program Civil Rights Coordinator at the Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) Legal Department within 60 days of the date the person filing the grievance becomes aware of the alleged discriminatory action.
  • A complaint must be in writing, containing the name and address of the person filing it. The complaint must state the problem or action alleged to be discriminatory and the remedy or relief sought. The Health Program Civil Rights Coordinator will provide assistance to anyone requesting help filing a complaint.
  • The Health Program Civil Rights Coordinator, or his/her designee, shall conduct an investigation of the complaint. This investigation may be informal, but it will be thorough, affording all interested persons an opportunity to submit evidence relevant to the complaint.
  • The Health Program Civil Rights Coordinator will maintain the files and records relating to such grievances. To the extent possible, and in accordance with applicable law, the Health Program Civil Rights Coordinator will take appropriate steps to preserve the confidentiality of files and records relating to grievances and will share them only with those who have a need to know.
  • The Health Program Civil Rights Coordinator will issue a written decision on the grievance, based on a preponderance of the evidence, no later than 30 days after its filing, including a notice to the complainant of their right to pursue further administrative or legal remedies.
  • The person filing the grievance may appeal the decision of the Health Program Civil Rights Coordinator by writing to the Commissioner of the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living, at Commissioner’s Office, Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living, HC 2 South, 280 State Drive, Waterbury, VT 05671-2020, within 15 days of the date of the Health Program Civil Rights Coordinator’s decision. The Commissioner, or his/her designee, shall issue a written decision in response to the appeal no later than 30 days after its filing.
  • The availability and use of this grievance procedure does not prevent a person from pursuing other legal or administrative remedies, including filing a complaint of discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in court or with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights. A person can file a complaint of discrimination electronically through the Office for Civil Rights Complaint Portal, which is available at: https://ocrportal.hhs.gov/ocr/portal/lobby.jsf, or by mail or phone at: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Avenue SW., Room 509F, HHH Building, Washington, DC 20201 1-800-868-1019, 800-537-7697 (TDD).
  • AHS and its departments provide free aids and services, such as qualified sign language interpreters and written information in other formats (e.g., large print, audio, accessible electronic formats), to people with disabilities, so they can work with us more easily. If you need these services call 1-855-899-9600 (TTY: 711).
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