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HHS Office for Civil Rights Works with Hospital to Improve Access to Kosher Electronic Devices Used for Virtual Patient Visitation

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR), finalized its work with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital to ensure virtual visitation is accessible to Jewish patients. OCR received complaints that Jewish patients and their loved ones were not accommodated with kosher electronic devices for virtual visits at NewYork-Presbyterian, a major New York healthcare system with hospitals in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and Westchester. Federal law prohibits hospitals that participate in Medicaid and Medicare from restricting patient visitation in a manner that discriminates on the basis of religion. OCR reviewed NewYork- Presbyterian’s policies and practices and worked with the healthcare system while it updated its policies and procedures to ensure full compliance with federal law.

“OCR is committed to ensuring that Jewish patients and patients of all faiths have the same visitation privileges as any other hospital patient,” said OCR Director Melanie Fontes Rainer. “OCR appreciates the work NewYork-Presbyterian has done to ensure that its Jewish patients, in accordance with hospital safety and privacy policies, can participate as fully as possible in the Hospital’s visitation program.”

During OCR’s review, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital:

  • Updated policies and procedures on patients’ use of kosher electronic devices;
  • Designated hospital personnel to work with patients seeking use of particular kosher devices to ensure that NewYork-Presbyterian does not prohibit the use of that device, should it meet the hospital’s privacy and safety requirements; and
  • Purchased kosher tablets to make available to Jewish patients within NewYork-Presbyterian’s hospital network, which will provide patients whose religious beliefs prohibit them from using the non-kosher devices opportunities for virtual visitation.

OCR will continue to be available for technical assistance to NewYork-Presbyterian.

OCR is committed to combatting antisemitism and enforcing religious non-discrimination rules applying to recipients of various forms of Federal Financial Assistance.

For more information on applicable federal law please view a fact sheet here: and

If you believe that you or another person has been a victim of antisemitism or religious discrimination in an HHS-funded program or activity, you can file a complaint with OCR at