MARYLAND BRIEFING

MARYLAND BRIEFING

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

LAUREL

Hospital Agrees to Improve Services for Deaf

Laurel Regional Hospital has signed a federal consent decree guaranteeing that hearing-impaired patients receive the aids and services necessary to communicate adequately with doctors and nurses.

The decree resolves a complaint filed in January by seven deaf men and women who alleged that their repeated requests for sign language interpreters were denied in violation of the American With Disabilities Act. They said they had to interact with staff members in sometimes critical medical situations by writing notes or trying to read lips.

The hospital agreed to change its facilities, equipment and policies, including adding video interpreting services and better educating staff. A spokeswoman said yesterday that "there's going to be accessibility 24/7."

-- Susan Levine

HIGHER EDUCATION

Community College President Resigns

Prince George's Community College President Ronald A. Williams has announced that he will resign after the 2006-07 school year to devote time to what the college termed "a growing set of responsibilities in his native Barbados." The announcement late last week did not elaborate on the reason for his departure.

Since Williams took the helm at the Largo campus in August 1999, enrollment has grown 14 percent, to more than 38,000 students, and extension centers have opened in Hyattsville and Laurel. The endowment has also grown from about $930,000 in 2000 to $2.5 million.

"Prince George's Community College is poised for continued success," Williams said in a prepared statement. "We have solved many problems and conquered various challenges."

His successor will be chosen by the college's board of trustees.


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