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2000 April 29, 1992
The Honorable Trent Lott United States Senate 487 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510-2403 Dear Senator Lott: This is in response to your recent letter on behalf of your constituent, Carter Bise. Mr. Bise has asked about the application of title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) to the operation of the professional office of a health care provider. The ADA authorizes the Department to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities that have rights or responsibilities under the Act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist Mr. Bise in understanding the ADA and the Department's regulation. However, this technical assistance does not constitute a determination by the Department of Justice of the rights or responsibilities of the physicians represented by Mr. Bise under the ADA, and it is not binding on the Department of Justice. The professional office of a health care provider is a place of public accommodation subject to title III of the ADA. Title III applies to any private entity that owns, operates, leases, or leases to a place of public accommodation. Coverage under title III is not determined by the size of a business or the number of people it employs. However, except for litigation initiated to enforce the new construction or alterations requirements of title III, no civil action alleging discrimination on the basis of
disability can be brought against businesses with 25 or fewer employees and gross receipts of $1,000,000 or less before July 26, 1992; or against businesses with 10 or fewer employees and gross receipts of $500,000 or less before January 26, 1993. It appears that the office described by Mr. Bise is a "commercial facility," but not a "place of public accommodation" because it is a separate facility only for employees where patients do not receive any treatment or services. Under title III, new construction of (or alterations to) commercial facilities must comply with the ADA accessibility standards, but barrier removal in existing facilities is not required. However, any operations at the office, such as billing practices, fee policies, or scheduling of appointments, that affect the delivery of services by the physicians in their hospital practice would be subject to title III. Moreover, if patients do, in fact, receive treatment or services of any kind at the office, the office would be a place of public accommodation subject to the full range of title III requirements. This Department recently issued a technical assistance manual to assist individuals and entities subject to the ADA to understand the requirements of title III. I have enclosed a copy for your information. I hope that this information is helpful to you in responding to Mr. Bise. Sincerely,
John R. Dunne Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosure