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Press Release

Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office and Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division Secure $440,000 Agreement with MedStar Health, Inc. to Provide People with Disabilities Equal Access to Medical Care

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland – A complaint and proposed consent decree have been filed in U.S. District Court in Maryland to resolve allegations that MedStar Health, Inc., a healthcare provider in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by denying people with disabilities equal access to medical care by excluding their necessary support persons.  Under the proposed consent decree, which the Court must approve, MedStar Health has agreed to pay a total of $440,000 to compensate eligible affected individuals.  MedStar Health will also revise its policies to ensure ADA compliance, train its workforce on the new policies, and report to the Department on any future exclusion of support persons, as defined in the Decree. 

The lawsuit and proposed consent decree was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron and Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

“Patients are entitled to equal access to healthcare.” said U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron.  “We appreciate MedStar Health’s cooperation in this investigation and are pleased that MedStar Health has agreed to take comprehensive steps to ensure that patients with disabilities have the same opportunities to obtain medical care and services.” 

“For some people with disabilities, having a support person accompany them is critical to ensure they have the same access to health care as everyone else.  This is a key promise of the ADA,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “When health care providers do not appropriately account for the needs of people with disabilities, they may provide unequal care in violation of the ADA.  The Justice Department is committed to combatting such discrimination.”

As detailed in the complaint, certain individuals with dementia, intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, and other disabilities may require the assistance of a support person (such as a family member, companion, or aide) when accessing medical care, including to provide information about medical history and/or to understand medical directions.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, MedStar Health instituted policies restricting the flow of individuals into its buildings.  The government’s complaint alleges that MedStar Health failed on numerous occasions to modify its visitor restrictions so that people with certain disabilities, which affected their ability to independently access medical care, could be accompanied by their support persons.  As a result, they were unable to receive equal care without the assistance of their support person.

This matter was handled jointly by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland and the Civil Rights Division’s Disability Rights Section.  U.S. Attorney Erek Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Marquardt and Trial Attorney Anne Langford of the Civil Rights Division, who handled the case.

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires private hospitals and other health care providers to provide individuals with disabilities with full and equal enjoyment of their goods and services.  For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office’s civil rights work, please visit  ADA complaints may be filed online at  Anyone in Maryland may also report civil rights violations by emailing

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Marcia Lubin
(410) 209-4854

Updated January 30, 2024

Civil Rights
Disability Rights