Monday, December 5, 2016

Access Dispute Resolved

Remember my recent access dispute at a health care facility? I called and spoke with a patient advocate last Monday afternoon and I spoke with her again this morning. In just four business days, this is what she, and the company, did.

They (meaning people in charge) investigated to confirm that the Dept of Justice does not consider a Post Anesthesia Care Unit to be a "sterile area" and that, if visitors are permitted in the unit, then service dogs must be permitted too. They also made sure they understood exactly what areas can legally exclude service dogs and she mentioned them to me on the phone - things like burn units, bone marrow transplant units, etc.

The advocate also looked into the hospital's own policy regarding service dogs and found that their policy, as well as the ADA, were violated. As you might expect, hospital policy includes complying with any and all federal laws and not violating the civil rights of patients or visitors.

Now comes the really amazing part. In just four business days, a mandatory meeting/training session was scheduled for all employees of four different departments, including same day surgery and the PACU. The advocate told me one employee was absent the day of the meeting, so she was educated in a private meeting this morning. All employees were educated about the ADA and hospital policy. Some expressed concern that the PACU was a sterile area and they were told in no uncertain terms that the hospital and the Dept of Justice agree it is not and that, if visitors can just walk in wearing street clothes, so can a service dog.

The advocate told me a couple employees asked "What if it's not a real service dog?"

And they were told "That is not your call to make." They were informed of the two questions the ADA allows them to ask and told that if the handler answers those questions, the dog is allowed. They were also educated about when someone can be asked to remove a service dog, if the dog is disruptive or not housebroken.

Employees were also reminded (because apparently they are supposed to already know this) that if a patient or visitor is concerned that their rights are being violated, there is a patient advocate available 24/7 who should be called right away.

This information is also going to printed in a newsletter that all staff receive.

I am more than pleased. How amazing is it that this was done in less than one week?

1 comment:

  1. That is amazing! You should be so pleased for going to the lengths that you did. Now the people who follow you will have a much easier time with their service dogs.