Skilled Nursing Facility Operators Agree to Settle Americans With Disabilities Act Allegations
ALEXANDRIA, VA (STL.News) Brookside Rehabilitation and Nursing Center (BRNC), located in Warrenton, has agreed to pay compensatory damages and a civil penalty, as well as enact remedial actions for residents with disabilities, to settle allegations that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The settlement agreement between the United States Attorney’s Office and BRNC resolves allegations that BRNC had denied admission to an individual who is deaf because she would need sign language interpreting services. The ADA prohibits covered entities from excluding individuals with disabilities from their services because they require auxiliary aid or services, such as a sign language interpreter.
“We are firmly committed to safeguarding the rights of individuals with disabilities and ensuring that they have equal opportunity and equal access to essential health or medical services,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Through the protections enshrined in the Americans with Disabilities Act, EDVA will continue to uphold the civil rights of every member of our community, irrespective of disability, by taking action to eliminate injustices and remove barriers in public services and accommodations.”
Abraham A. Gutnicki and Judy Kushner, who manage BRNC and are parties to the settlement agreement, have an interest in seven other nursing facilities located in Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, and New Jersey. The remedial action agreed upon is to be implemented at those facilities.
To resolve this complaint, BRNC agreed to adopt new ADA policies that will make their services accessible to individuals with communication disabilities, including those who require the services of a sign language interpreter; designate an ADA Administrator, who will be responsible for ensuring each facilities’ compliance with the ADA; enter into agreements with sign language interpreting service providers to provide services to individuals who need them; and provide training for its personnel on the ADA’s effective communication requirements. The agreement covers eight of the nursing facilities in which Gutnicki and Kushner have an interest: (1) BRNC; (2) Cranford Rehab & Nursing Center; (3) Lynwood Manor Health Center; (4) Mystic Meadows Rehab & Nursing Center; (5) Oakwood Care Center; (6) Rehab at Rivers Edge; (7) Skyview Springs Rehab and Nursing Center; and (8) Wellspring at Amelia.
In addition to making changes to the policies and procedures at their nursing facilities, BRNC agreed to pay $40,000 to the resident to whom it denied admission and a $50,000 civil penalty.
The matter was investigated by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Gordon, who is the Civil Rights Enforcement Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The civil claims settled by this ADA agreement are allegations only; there has been no determination of civil liability.