BOSTON -- Eight disabled residents and a local advocacy group filed a lawsuit in federal court yesterday against the state agency that provides health care to more than a million low-income people, arguing it has failed to comply with laws that require documents to cater to the needs of the deaf, blind, and other physically and mentally impaired recipients of care.
On the 21st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Boston-based Disability Policy Consortium and other plaintiffs - four who are blind, two who are deaf, and two with other disabilities - filed a suit in US District Court in Boston, alleging MassHealth violated the law by failing to provide written notices in Braille or other electronic forms, failing to use American Sign Language to communicate, and not listing phone numbers to help the hearing impaired on the agency’s website.
“The ADA was pretty clear that state governments have to make communications accessible to people with disabilities, so they can participate as fully as anyone else,’’ said Bill Allan, executive director of the Disability Policy Consortium. “The Commonwealth has ignored this issue for years. It has been brought up to them in reports and by individuals. It’s time for them to take action.’’