Justice Department Settles with Ohio Hospital over HIV discrimination
The Justice Department announced today that, as part of its Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative, it has reached a settlement with Glenbeigh Hospital of Rock Creek, Ohio, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The settlement resolves allegations that Glenbeigh violated the ADA by denying admission to someone because of HIV. This is the fourth settlement that the Justice Department has reached in six weeks addressing HIV discrimination by a medical provider.
The Justice Department found that Glenbeigh unlawfully refused to admit someone with HIV into its alcohol treatment program because of the side effects of his HIV medication. Glenbeigh’s alcohol treatment program consists of helping patients through the physical aspects of recovery, as well as providing counseling and incorporating spiritual healing. The department determined that Glenbeigh cannot show that treating the complainant would have posed a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
“Ensuring access to medical care for people with HIV requires that those in the medical field make medical decisions that are not based on fears or stereotypes,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The ADA does not tolerate HIV discrimination and neither will the Justice Department.”
“Our office is committed to vigorously enforcing the ADA, including for those with HIV,” said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. “This settlement should send a clear message that those with HIV are entitled to the same services, including medical treatment, as everyone else.”
Under the settlement, Glenbeigh must pay $32,500 to the complainant and $5,000 in civil penalties. In addition, Glenbeigh must train its staff on the ADA and develop and implement an anti-discrimination policy.
In the past five weeks, the department announced similar agreements with Woodlawn Family Dentistry, the Castlewood Treatment Center, and the Fayetteville Pain Center to address HIV discrimination. All four settlements are part of the Department of Justice’s Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative, a partnership of the Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney’s offices across the nation, to target enforcement efforts on a critical area for individuals with disabilities. The initiative, launched on the 22nd anniversary of the ADA in July 2012, includes the participation of 40 U.S. Attorney’s offices. The division expects the initiative to address access to health care for people with HIV and those with hearing disabilities, as well as physical access to medical facilities. In 2012, the division and U.S. Attorneys offices reached two settlement agreements regarding access to medical care for people with HIV and four settlements regarding access to medical care for people with hearing disabilities. For more information on the Barrier Free Health Care Initiative visit www.ada.gov/usao-agreements.htm.
For more information on the ADA and HIV, visit www.ada.gov/aids. Those interested in finding out more about these settlements or the obligations of public accommodations under the ADA may call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or access its ADA website at www.ada.gov. ADA complaints may be filed by email to email@example.com.