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Civil Rights

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What is Title VI?

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) is a Federal law that protects persons from discrimination based on their race, color or national origin in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance. For example, if you are eligible for Medicaid or other health or human services provided by agencies or organizations that receive Federal government funding, those entities cannot deny you access to their programs or activities because of your race, color or national origin.

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ensures that entities that receive Federal financial assistance comply with Title VI as well as other civil rights laws.

Some of the institutions or programs that may receive Federal assistance and be covered by
Title VI are:

  • Hospitals and health clinics
  • Medicaid and Medicare agencies
  • Alcohol and drug treatment centers
  • Extended care facilities
  • Public assistance programs
  • Nursing homes
  • Adoption agencies
  • Day care, mental health and senior citizen centers

Forms of illegal discrimination

A recipient of Federal financial assistance may not, based on race, color or national origin:

  • Deny services, financial aid or other benefits provided as a part of health or human services programs.
  • Provide a different service, financial aid or other benefit, or provide them in a different manner from those provided to others under the program.
  • Segregate or separately treat individuals in any matter related to the receipt of any service, financial aid or other benefit.
  • Fail to take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access by limited English proficient (LEP) persons to the recipient’s programs or activities.

How to file a complaint of discrimination with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

If you believe that you or someone else has been discriminated against because of race, color or national origin by an entity receiving financial assistance from HHS, you or your legal representative may file a complaint with OCR. Complaints must be filed within 180 days from the date of the alleged discrimination.
You may send a written complaint or you may complete and send OCR the Complaint Form available on our webpage at The complaint form is also available on our webpage in a number of other languages under the Civil Rights Information in Other Languages section.

The following information must be included:

  • Your name, address and telephone number.
  • You must sign your name on everything you write. If you file a complaint on someone’s behalf —
    e.g. spouse, friend, client, etc. — include your name, address, telephone number, and statement of your relationship to that person.
  • Name and address of the institution or agency you believe discriminated.
  • When, how and why you believe discrimination occurred.
  • Any other relevant information.

If you mail the complaint, be sure to send it to the attention of the regional manager at the appropriate OCR regional office. OCR has ten regional offices and each regional office covers specific states. Complaints may also be mailed to OCR Headquarters at the following address:

Office for Civil Rights U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

200 Independence Avenue, SW.
H.H.H. Building, Room 509-F
Washington, D.C. 20201

To learn more:
Visit us online at
Call us toll-free at 1-800-368-1019
Email us:
TDD: 1-800-537-7697

Language assistance services for OCR matters are available and provided free of charge. OCR services are accessible to persons with disabilities.