Resources available to help employees better handle service animals

December 20, 2018  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

Many patients with disabilities come to Michigan Medicine using assistive devices like wheelchairs, walkers and canes. Did you know that service animals are considered assistive devices too? Service animals are not pets.

According to the Affordable Care Act, Section 1557, a patient cannot be discriminated on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. So when a patient arrives with a service animal, which generally would be a dog but may include a miniature horse, the animal must be able to accompany them into the clinic or hospital in areas open to the public.

If a patient comes in with a dog which has no specific documentation that identify it as a service dog (please note, identification is not required for service dogs), you may ask only the following questions:

  • Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  • What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

To learn more about Michigan Medicine’s policy on service animals, please watch this video and download this FAQ sheet to share with colleagues.

If you have any questions or concerns about how to handle service animals or other civil rights issues, please contact the Patient Civil Rights Coordinator at 734-936-6439 or