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Civil Rights

The Civil Rights Division (CRD) in the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) promotes and ensures that people have equal access to and opportunity to participate in certain health care and human services programs without facing unlawful discrimination. CRD carries out this mission by enforcing Federal laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination, including health care provider conscience rights, on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age and, in certain circumstances, sex and religion, in programs and activities that receive financial assistance from HHS.  CRD also enforces a Federal law and regulation that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability in health care and social service programs of state and local governments.

OCR Promotes and Ensures Compliance with the Civil Rights Laws

  • Investigate complaints filed by individuals alleging that they have or someone else has been discriminated against on a prohibited basis.
  • Conduct compliance reviews of covered entities that OCR believes may not be in compliance with the law.
  • Provide technical assistance to covered entities to help them understand how they can voluntarily comply with the law. 
  • Conduct outreach nationwide to help individuals and covered entities understand rights and obligations under the laws that OCR enforces.

Regulation For the Enforcement of 
Federal Health Care Provider 
Conscience Protection Laws

The Department of Health and Human Services has issued a new regulation for the Enforcement of Federal Health Care Provider Conscience Protection Laws. Read the new regulation, overview, Fact Sheet, and Power Point. The Office for Civil Rights is empowered to enforce these important regulations.

To learn more about the Federal civil rights laws enforced by OCR