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Press Release

Four Skilled Nursing Facility Entities Agree to Resolve Allegations of Americans with Disabilities Act Violations

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Facilities denied admission to patients prescribed Opioid Use Disorder treatment

BOSTON – Four health care entities that operate and manage skilled nursing facilities have agreed to resolve allegations that their Massachusetts-based skilled nursing facilities denied admission to prospective residents because they were prescribed an FDA-approved medication for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).

“Compliance with the ADA is mandatory, and the ADA protects people with recognized disabilities, such as Opioid Use Disorder,” said Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell. “Vindicating the right to treatment afforded by the ADA is important to my office – it is an effective way to prevent discrimination against disabled people and ensure fair access to treatment for those in recovery.” 

The United States allege that CareOne Realty, LLC; Hebrew Senior Life, Inc.; Sheehan Health Group, LLC (which manages Laurel Ridge and Presentation Rehabilitation Centers); and Wingate Healthcare violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by denying admission to individuals because they were being treated with buprenorphine or methadone, medications used to treat OUD. Individuals receiving medication to treat OUD are generally considered disabled under federal civil rights laws. The individuals who were the subject of the complaints in these cases were seeking admission for health issues unrelated to their dependency, but also needed treatment for OUD. 

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, these entities will, among other things, adopt a non-discrimination policy and provide training on the ADA and OUD to admissions personnel. The entities will also pay civil penalties totaling $55,000, of which $35,000 will be suspended and forgiven if the facilities comply with the terms of the agreement.

Since May 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has settled with eight healthcare providers to resolve ADA violations arising from OUD treatment.   

Acting U.S. Attorney Mendell of the District of Massachusetts made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Miron Bloom handled the matters.

Updated September 27, 2021

Disability Rights