News and Press Releases

Justice Department Reaches Settlement Regarding Conditions at New York Nursing Home

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 26, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The Justice Department today announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with the Nassau Health Care Corporation (NHCC), a New York public benefit corporation, resolving the Department’s investigation of conditions and services at the A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility, a 889-bed nursing home operated by NHCC in Uniondale, New York.

The agreement follows an investigation conducted jointly by the Civil Rights Division and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. It requires NHCC to protect facility residents from harm and to improve constitutionally-required services in the areas of mental health care, use of restraints, general medical and clinical care, and nutritional care. In addition, the agreement ensures that each resident is served in the most integrated setting appropriate to his or her needs, as required by the Supreme Court’s 1999 decision in Olmstead v. L.C. In Olmstead, the Court held that segregation of persons with disabilities may constitute illegal discrimination when those persons can live in a more integrated setting. NHCC has agreed to hire independent monitors to review its operations periodically and to ensure that the A. Holly Patterson facility is not violating residents’ rights.

“Nursing home residents deserve dignity and respect,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “This agreement underscores our commitment to upholding the constitutional rights of the elderly and infirm, who are among our most vulnerable citizens.”

 United States Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf commended NHCC for its commitment to reforming the facility and stated that “we look forward to working with NHCC and A. Holly Patterson to improve the lives of A. Holly Patterson’s residents and ensure compliance with appropriate standards of care and the law.”

The Justice Department found in its investigation that A. Holly Patterson exposed residents to unsafe living conditions and undue restraints, failed to provide adequate medical and mental health care, failed to provide residents with adequate nutrition and hydration, and failed to protect residents from unnecessary institutionalization. The Department has resolved similar investigations of nursing homes in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and New Jersey.

Protecting the rights of institutionalized persons is a priority of the Department of Justice. Since 2001, the Civil Rights Division has opened 58 investigations concerning the terms and conditions of confinement in 65 facilities, including nursing homes, mental health facilities, residences for persons with developmental disabilities, juvenile justice facilities, and jails. These figures represent a more than 30 percent increase in such investigations when compared to those initiated over the preceding four years.

Trial Attorneys Benjamin Tayloe, David Deutsch, Aretha Coles, and Brian Garner of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Pamela Chen of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York investigated this case.

The text of the settlement agreement and additional information about the Special Litigation Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division can be found at www.usdoj.gov/crt/split/index.html.


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