Health Care Law & Disability Discrimination

View all blog posts under Articles | View all blog posts under Online Master's in Health Law and Policy

As a health law and policy professional, you are qualified to advocate for patients across the country who deal with challenges in the health care system. Discrimination against individuals with disabilities is a sensitive yet important subject, as barriers to health care continue to exist for vulnerable people.

Those interested in learning more about disability and discrimination in health care and how they can learn to advocate for patients should consider one of the online health law and policy programs at Hofstra Law. Each program’s curriculum is designed to help you build your legal literacy while also improving your knowledge of health law or policy.

Let’s take a deeper dive into discrimination and disability in health care law, and how Hofstra Law can prepare you for a career in health law and policy:

Professional documenting patient notes

Discrimination and disability in health care law

How does the American legal system handle cases of discrimination and disability? The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990 prohibits all covered health care and human service providers from discriminating against someone with disabilities. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 also covers individuals with disabilities from being discriminated against by federal agencies in programs providing assistance.

Both regulations state that someone with a disability is defined as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more major life activities, has a record of impairment or is regarded as having an impairment. Major life activity refers to walking, talking, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working.

A physical or mental impairment includes visual, speech and hearing impairments, as well as mental and emotional illness, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, orthopedic conditions, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and contagious and noncontagious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV disease.

One notable case resolved by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to provide relief for people with disabilities was EEOC v. Sears, Roebuck & Co. This lawsuit came about because Sears had a workers’ compensation leave exhaustion policy that was unreasonable for workers with disabilities. Instead of providing accommodations for these individuals, the company terminated them. Due to the violation of the ADA, the Sears case became the largest monetary recovery settlement in the history of the EEOC.

How can Hofstra Law teach you about this subject?

The Master of Arts in Health Law and Policy program at Hofstra Law is ideal for health educators, health care social workers, social community service managers and compliance officers. These are the individuals who will advocate for patients dealing with an issue regarding disability discrimination.

If you’re more interested in specializing and practicing in health law, the Master of Laws in Health Law and Policy is designed to shape individuals into lawyers, paralegals, law firm partners, arbitrators, mediators and conciliators.

Both the online Master of Arts in Health Law and Policy and Master of Law in Health Law and Policy programs at Hofstra Law are designed to equip students with the legal knowledge needed to succeed as a professional in health law. The following courses in the curriculum dive deeper into the area of discrimination and disability.

  1. Medicare and Medicaid Law: Medicare is the primary medical coverage provider for those aged 65 and older and for those with a disability. In this course, you’ll gain a better understanding of the history, purposes, expectations and evolution of Medicare and Medicaid, exploring policy issues and understanding how patients with disabilities are directly impacted.
  2. The ADA: Statutory Interpretation: Take a deep dive into statutory interpretation through the Disabilities Act of 1990, learning how to analyze and evaluate issues involving disability and discrimination in the health care setting.
  3. Public Health, Policy and Ethics: Disability and discrimination can be analyzed from an ethical standpoint. In this course, you’ll learn how to apply law to public health from ethical policy parameters, narrowing in on subjects like mandatory vaccination and obesity to environmental policy and barriers and limitations on access to health care. The primary goal of this course is to teach you how to better understand how to make smart, ethical decisions that improve population health, regardless of disability or other barriers.

If you’re interested in learning more about ethics, Medicare and Medicaid, and other topics that directly relate to disability discrimination, consider enrolling in the online Master’s in Health Law and Policy programs at Hofstra Law. You’ll gain valuable knowledge, skills and insight into health law from an American Bar Association-accredited law school that ranked top 50 in the nation for Scholarly Impact.

If becoming fluent in the language of law is your top priority, Hofstra Law can help you distinguish yourself in the industry. Learn more how you can advance your career and earn an online Master’s in Health Law and Policy by visiting the program page. For more information, contact an enrollment advisor today.


Recommended Readings:

What you need to know about Medicare and Medicaid

Why Specialize in Health Law and Policy


Hofstra Law health law and policy

Master of arts in health law and policy curriculum


Civil rights – discrimination disability 

Equal Employment Opportunity

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Title 29