§ 107.4. Procedures to assure nondiscrimination of participating agencies, institutions, organizations and vendors.
(a) Administrative responsibilities for assuring nondiscrimination. The administrative responsibilities for assuring nondiscrimination will be as follows:
(1) Participating agencies, institutions, organizations and vendors shall agree to comply with the nondiscriminatory requirements in order to be eligible for participation in the public assistance programs. However, the determination that discrimination does not occur in the care of services provided public assistance applicants or recipients will be a continuing responsibility of staff.
(2) The responsibility for assuring that in fact nondiscrimination exists will be carried out by observation and inquiry by the caseworkers and other staff in the course of visits to participating facilities, or in contacts with the client or other persons in the community. If a practice is observed which may be discriminatory, it will be reported to the Executive Director for further review, and, if necessary, corrective steps. A situation which cannot be resolved by the Executive Director in a reasonable period of time by negotiation will be referred to the regional compliance officer.
(b) Notice of requirements. Each applicant, recipient and participating agency, institution or organization will be provided with a copy of Information Leaflet No. 12 describing the terms of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the protections against discrimination assured by such act.
(c) Complaint procedures. The following procedures shall apply to filing of complaints:
(1) Under Federal regulations, an applicant or recipient of a Federally-aided category of public assistance may file a complaint of discrimination directly with the United States Department of Human Services. The complaint shall be filed within 180 days from the date of the alleged discrimination unless the time for filing is extended by the responsible Department official or his designee. However, the Department and the County Assistance Offices will give prompt and just consideration to complaints of discrimination made to them.
(2) The following applies to filing of complaints:
(i) An applicant or recipient who believes he has been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, national origin or handicap by the Department, or by an agency, institution, organization or vendor participating in the program, may file with the Department or the County Assistance Office a written complaint of the alleged discriminatory conditions or practices.
(ii) If the complaint alleges discrimination by staff of the county office, the appeal and fair hearing process is made available to the client in the same way as it is for any other public assistance applicant or recipient who is dissatisfied with a decision or action in respect to granting or continuing public assistance aid and services. Reference should also be made to Chapter 275 (relating to appeal and fair hearing and administrative disqualification hearings).
(iii) If the complaint alleges discrimination by another agency or person providing public assistance care or services, the following facts shall be obtained:
(A) The reason for the belief that discrimination occurred.
(B) The specific action which the complainant believed discriminatory and the dates of occurrence.
(iv) The county office will assess the validity of the complaint and makes a full report together with recommendation for corrective action to the Regional Compliance Officer within 30 days. The Bureau of Human Services Compliance will arrange for a further investigation as may be necessary. If the allegedly offending agency or institution is supervised or licensed by the Department, such as nursing homes or hospitals, the office responsible for the supervision or licensure will be asked to make the investigation. Otherwise, the investigation will be made by appropriate staff of the Bureau of Human Services Compliance, with consultative help from interested agencies such as the Human Relations Commission.
(v) The Commissioner will submit a report of the investigation of the complaint of discrimination, and related documents together with his recommendation to the Secretary.
(vi) The Secretary, with appropriate legal consultation, will determine whether or not the agency or institution is violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the regulations of the Department. If the decision of the Secretary as in the affirmative, the agency, institution or vendor will be notified in writing of the nature and extent of the violation and asked to submit either of the following within 10 days:
(A) Written assurance that corrective action has been taken or will be instituted within 90 days.
(B) A request for a hearing to show cause why the agency or institution should not be disqualified for the receipt of public assistance payments in behalf of persons eligible for the aid.
(vii) If the agency, institution, organization or vendor requests a hearing, the hearing will be held in accordance with procedures of the Department respecting 2 Pa.C.S. § § 501508 and 701704 (relating to the Administrative Agency Law).
(viii) Copies of complaints, reports of investigation, orders for corrective action and related documents will be transmitted to the Human Relations Commission for its review and action under the anti-discrimination statutes of the Commonwealth.
(ix) The county office will be notified of the final decision on complaints.
(d) Failure to comply with nondiscriminatory regulations. If an agency, institution, organization or other participant fails to comply with nondiscriminatory regulations, the following shall apply:
(1) The decision that an agency, institution, organization or other participant as defined in § 107.3 (relating to requirements) is failing to comply with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and this chapter will be made by the Secretary from evidence presented to him through direct complaints, complaints to County Assistance Offices or others, and after appropriate investigation and hearings as may be requested.
(2) If it has been decided that a participating agency or person is not complying with the requirements on nondiscrimination, the agency will be:
(i) Advised in writing of the evidence of failure to comply and the effect of continuing noncompliance on further participation in the program.
(ii) Given an opportunity to present evidence of compliance, or the steps that will be taken to comply.
(3) If an agreement to comply is not reached within a specified time, 90 days, at the most, the participant failing to comply will be notified that eligibility for participation in the program is cancelled. No further payments will be made to the vendor in behalf of public assistance recipients being provided care or services.
(e) Records and reports. Procedures for records and reports will be as follows:
(1) State office will maintain a card file for ready identification of complaints of violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Department regulations. As the complaint is satisfied, either by corrective action or a decision that the complaint was not justified, appropriate notation will be made on the card.
(2) The card records will be maintained for 3 years or until such time as Federal auditing purposes have been served.
(3) Correspondence relating to the complaint, its investigation and the action on it, will be maintained in readily accessible form for review purposes as may be necessary.
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