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Providence Memorializes Commitment to Communication Access for Deaf Patients

— March 15, 2024

Meredith Weaver, senior staff attorney at DRA, said “As a result of these improvements, Providence will become an industry-leader for Deaf-friendly health care and set the standard for other providers.”

Seattle, WA—On March 1, Providence Swedish and nonprofit law firm Disability Rights Advocates, announced an agreement that memorializes Providence Swedish’s strong commitment to ensuring Deaf patients’ access to health care services at facilities across the Puget Sound region.

Over the last year and a half, Providence Swedish worked with Deaf patients represented by Disability Rights Advocates and Moloy Good of the Good Law Clinic to develop a comprehensive plan for strengthening Deaf patients’ access to communication when they seek health care services at Pacific Medical Centers, Providence Medical Group clinic locations, Swedish Edmonds Campus, Swedish Mill Creek Campus, and Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.

As an initial step, Providence Swedish has retained a Deaf Access Consultant to build on existing policies and training so that they are not only legally compliant, but also Deaf-friendly. Providence Swedish will take steps to improve staff understanding of circumstances in which an interpreter should be provided in person rather than remotely and has pledged to defer to a patient’s request for in-person interpretation. Providence Swedish will also undertake an evaluation of existing connections and hardware for Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) to analyze whether they can meet the Americans with Disabilities Act’s technical specifications. To review the actions Providence will take, read the full agreement.

Woman speaking ASL; image by Kevin Malik, via
Woman speaking ASL; image by Kevin Malik, via

“Providence Swedish values and respects the dignity of every patient who seeks care at any of our locations,” said Kristy Carrington, RN, chief executive, Providence Swedish North Puget Sound. “Our collaboration with Disability Rights Advocates ensures patients from the Deaf community have access to the vital communication services necessary to receive the high-quality care they deserve.”

Kate Spencer, a Deaf Providence patient who engaged in these discussions, said “I am excited that we were able to come to an historic agreement to improve accessibility at many of Providence’s locations in the Puget Sound area. I look forward to seeing those improvements soon for a more Deaf-friendly experience. A big thank you to Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) for taking our case and working hard on it!”

Meredith Weaver, senior staff attorney at DRA, said “As a result of these improvements, Providence will become an industry-leader for Deaf-friendly health care and set the standard for other providers.”


Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) is a leading national nonprofit disability rights legal center. Its mission is to advance equal rights and opportunity for people with all types of disabilities nationwide. DRA represents people with the full spectrum of disabilities in complex, system-change, class action cases. DRA is proud to have upheld the promise of the ADA since our inception. Thanks to DRA’s precedent-setting work, people with disabilities across the country have dramatically improved access to health care, employment, transportation, education, disaster preparedness planning, voting and housing. For more information, visit

The Good Law Clinic is a civil rights firm committed to the ideal of equality in our society.  These laws demand equal treatment for all persons regardless of membership in protected classes that may include disability, race, color, gender, religion, age, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. We are dedicated to promoting these rights in housing, government services, business, transportation, and employment.  For more information, visit

Providence is a national, not-for-profit Catholic health system comprising a diverse family of organizations and driven by a belief that health is a human right. With 51 hospitals, more than 1,000 physician clinics, senior services, supportive housing and many other health and educational services, the health system and its partners employ more than 122,000 caregivers serving communities across Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Washington, with system offices in Renton, Wash., and Irvine, Calif. Learn about our vision of health for a better world at

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