Astria Health, in merger talks with Snoqualmie Valley Hospital, settles discrimination lawsuit

  • Monday, January 22, 2018 3:32pm
  • News

Updated Jan. 22, 2018 at 2:56 p.m.

Astria Health, the hospital organization that Snoqualmie Valley Hospital’s board of commissioners is in talks with about a possible merger or affiliation, has reportedly settled a discrimination lawsuit today (Friday, Jan. 19).

Joseph H. Harrington, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that a settlement agreement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been reached between the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and Astria, formerly known as Regional Health.

Astria, is the parent company of Sunnyside Community Hospital and other clinics in central Washington. Astria operates 34 hospitals, clinics, and medical facilities in the eastern district of Washington.

The U.S. Attorney Office began an ADA-based investigation of Astria Health after receiving a complaint that, despite a request for a Tactile American Sign Language interpreter, one of Astria Health’s clinics failed on five separate treatment occasions to provide a deaf-blind individual with a qualified interpreter. The deaf- blind individual alleged that, for approximately four months, he did not receive care because he was unable to communicate effectively with his treatment providers concerning his chronic health condition, which condition could result in potentially life-threatening complications if not properly managed.

Astria Health fully cooperated with the U.S. Attorney’s investigation and within days of being notified of the investigation initiated corrective action to ensure the deaf- blind individual involved received a qualified interpreter at his next healthcare visit.

Under the settlement, Astria agreed to take remedial steps to ensure compliance with the ADA at each of its 34 hospitals and clinics in central Washington. These steps include the appointment of an ADA point person who is familiar with the ADA’s health care access and communication – interpreter requirements. This coordinator will also provide training to Astria’s staff on ADA requirements and will enter into contracts with interpretive service providers. Astria will also adopt specific policies and procedures to ensure that auxiliary aids and communication services are provided promptly to individuals who are deaf, blind, or have communication challenges.

CEO of Snoqualmie Valley Hospital Tom Parker said the settlement “has no direct impact on our discussions,” regarding the possibility of an affiliation. He also said that Snoqualmie Valley Hospital accommodates their language and disability interpretation needs through the translating language service Stratus Video, an organization that provides interpreters to hospitals and clinics.

More in News

Snoqualmie Valley Hospital affiliation process nears decision point

On Thursday, Feb. 8, Dariel Norris, president of the Public Hospital District… Continue reading

A map of the Canyon Springs area marking the location of the recent landslide. (Courtesy Photo)
City proceeds with plans for landslide stabilization around Canyon Springs water source

After a recent landslide put one of Snoqualmie’s water sources in danger,… Continue reading

Washington State Capitol. Photo by Nicole Jennings
Lawmakers clash over gun legislation amid another discussion on mass shootings

Washington State lawmakers introduced a multitude of bills early this 2018 session… Continue reading

North Bend Councilman Alan Gothelf appointed to fourth term as chair of EF&R board

North Bend City Councilman Alan Gothelf was recently appointed to his fourth… Continue reading

Washington State Capitol. Photo by Nicole Jennings
Washington may soon teach sexual abuse prevention in schools

The State Legislature is considering training aimed at improving child safety.

Permit approved for disabled adult home in Snoqualmie; public can comment through March 2

The Snoqualmie Hearing Examiner recently approved a conditional use permit for a… Continue reading

Blotter: Man who slept in shower stall creates a commotion; Unruly bar patron exposes himself

Police and fire agencies in the Snoqualmie Valley responded to the following… Continue reading

Stilson Avenue to close Feb. 20-24 for pavement repairs

Stilson Avenue in North Bend (432nd Avenue SE) will be closed Tuesday,… Continue reading

SVSD voters support tax increase in early returns

Snoqualmie Valley School District residents were rejecting two school funding issues in… Continue reading

Most Read