The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan has reached a settlement with a Flint ophthalmology office to resolve allegations that it denied treatment to a patient in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.
The settlement resolves a complaint that Park Eye and Surgi-Center refused to complete an assessment for cataract surgery for a patient because of his disability. The investigation showed that the medical practice did not fully assess the patient because it inaccurately assumed that the patient could not complete the normal battery of tests required for cataract surgery because of his mobility disability.
The ADA requires that places of public accommodation, such as medical offices, modify their practices to reasonably accommodate persons with disabilities. The patient later received treatment at another local ophthalmologist practice that made the necessary modifications to fully assess him for cataract surgery.
“Health care providers are required to provide patients with disabilities the same medical care that is available to other patients,” McQuade said. “Medical practitioners cannot simply make assumptions about any patients. They must engage in a meaningful consideration of what can reasonably be done to assist them.”
Under the settlement, the medical practice agreed to update its policies and training materials to ensure compliance with the ADA and to pay compensatory damages to the Complainant. In addition, the practice must train its staff on the ADA and develop and implement an anti-discrimination policy.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is continuing to investigate complaints involving hospitals and other medical offices related to physical access to medical care for people with mobility disabilities, and effective communication for people who are deaf or have hearing loss as part of the Department of Justice’s Barrier Free Healthcare Initiative, which prioritizes enforcement efforts on this critical area.
For more information on the ADA and the DOJ’s Barrier Free Healthcare Initiative, visit http://www.ada.gov/usao-agreements.htm
. Those interested in finding out more about these settlements, the obligations of public accommodations under the ADA, or filing a complaint may contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office via email at email@example.com
, or by calling 313-226-9151. They may also contact the Justice Department through its toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), access its ADA website at www.ada.gov
, or file a complaint by email at firstname.lastname@example.org