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On April 25, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) issued a Dear Adult Care Facility Administrator Letter (DACF #23-15) after it came to the DOH’s attention that some ACF operators have interpreted recent regulatory changes (discussed here) to operate as an absolute bar on the admission and retention of individuals who use wheelchairs or have other mobility impairments. Rather, the DOH made clear that individuals with mobility impairments have the right to access ACF programs and that accommodations can and should be made where reasonable.

In furtherance of these regulatory changes, the DOH provided guidance  to ACFs about the fair housing rights of current and prospective ACF residents and what constitutes a reasonable accommodation request, including what ACF operators should consider and how to respond to same. The DOH also advises ACFs to adopt a non-discrimination statement that contains, at a minimum, language included in the DOH’s model policy and a reasonable accommodation policy that incorporates language recommended by the DOH, and to use the accompanying request form. The DOH also recommends that ACFs post a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) poster in a common area at the facility.

The DOH is scheduled to host a webinar discussing this guidance and the DAL on Thursday, May 4, at 2:00 PM.

ACF operators and administrators are reminded that non-compliance with any DOH regulation governing the operation of ACFs, including admission and retention standards, can trigger an investigation, unannounced survey, or other regulatory response from the DOH.

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