U.S. Attorney’s Office Reaches Settlement with Ashland-based Hospital Resolving Alleged Violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act
LEXINGTON, KY (STL.News) The U.S. Attorney’s Office reached an agreement on Tuesday with King’s Daughters Medical Center, a private hospital based in Ashland, Kentucky, to resolve allegations that one of the hospital’s outpatient clinics violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by turning away patients because they had or were being treated for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).
According to a complaint submitted by a prospective patient, King’s Daughters Outpatient Behavioral Medicine, the hospital’s outpatient behavioral medicine clinic, refused to accept her as a patient because she was prescribed buprenorphine, a medication used to treat OUD. The complaint prompted investigation pursuant to the ADA into the clinic’s practice of turning away prospective patients who were prescribed medications used to treat OUD, like buprenorphine and methadone, or who were diagnosed with OUD. Individuals receiving treatment for OUD are generally considered disabled under the ADA, which, among other things, prohibits private healthcare providers from discriminating on the basis of disability.
Under the terms of the agreement, King’s Daughters will adopt non-discriminatory admissions policies at the clinic, revise its non-discrimination policy to specifically address discrimination on the basis of OUD, provide training on the ADA and OUD to admissions personnel, pay a civil penalty of $50,000 to the United States, and pay the complainant $40,000 for pain and suffering.
This matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Pond, as part of the U.S. Attorney Program for ADA Enforcement, in coordination with the Disability Rights Section of the Department’s Civil Rights Division.