Service Animals

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 mandates that persons with disabilities accompanied by service animals be allowed access with their service animals into places of public accommodation. There is no evidence that animals pose a significant risk of transmitting infection in healthcare facilities. Therefore, a person with disability may be accompanied by a service animal unless the animal’s presence or behavior requires a fundamental alteration in the nature of a service to be provided or is a direct threat to other persons.

A “direct threat” is defined as a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be mitigated or eliminated by modifying policies, practices, or procedures. If a patient must be separated from his or her service animal, (1) the patient must make arrangements for the supervision and care of the animal during the period of separation and (2) the healthcare provider must make appropriate arrangements to address the patient’s needs in the absence of the service animal.1