As part of its Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has reached three settlements addressing HIV discrimination by medical providers over the past three weeks. Each of the settlements was reached under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities—including persons with HIV disease—in public accommodations, employment, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications.
In the settlement announced this week, DOJ found that Woodlawn Family Dentistry of Alexandria, Virginia required a patient with HIV to schedule all future appointments as the last appointment of the day. DOJ determined that, because the patient has HIV, Woodlawn failed to offer him the same options and availability in scheduling future appointments as it offered to other people.
DOJ further determined that there was no lawful reason why Woodlawn could not treat the patient at any time during normal business hours. Under the settlement, Woodlawn must pay $7,000 to the patient and $3,000 in civil penalties. In addition, Woodlawn must train its staff on the ADA and develop and implement an anti-discrimination policy.
Earlier this month, the Justice Department announced that it had reached a settlement with Castlewood Treatment Center LLC, of St. Louis, Missouri, which resolves allegations that Castlewood violated the ADA by refusing to treat a woman for a serious eating disorder because she has HIV. DOJ found that Castlewood refused to treat Susan Gibson because of her HIV, despite Castlewood’s determination that she was qualified to receive counseling treatment for her eating disorder, and despite advice from its own medical staff that they were able to treat someone with HIV at Castlewood. DOJ also determined that for months Castlewood staff told Gibson that she was on a waiting list for the program, even though they had no intention to admit her.
By David W. Knight
Full Story - Blog.AIDS.Gov