DANVERS – The parent company of nine nursing homes in Massachusetts and Rhode Island – including Hathorne Hill in Danvers, Sutton Hill Center in North Andover and Academy Manor in Andover – has reached a deal with federal prosecutors to resolve the allegations according to which houses have reportedly refused to admit patients who were being treated for opioid dependence.
In the “Voluntary Resolution Agreement,” released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Department of Health and Human Services, Pennsylvania-based Genesis HealthCare admits no wrongdoing, but agreed to a series of measures to bring facilities into compliance with Americans with disabilities. Law, Rehabilitation Law and Affordable Care Law.
Federal prosecutors in Massachusetts and Rhode Island began investigating after receiving complaints that patients receiving methadone or buprenorphine (Suboxone) treatment were being denied admission to Genesis facilities.
Both drugs are among those used for what is now known as drug treatment for opioid use disorders. Opioid use disorder is considered a disability under federal law.
Patients were seeking admission for treatment of other conditions.
The settlement imposed a penalty of $ 60,000, of which Genesis will have to pay $ 10,000 within 30 days. The balance will be suspended and then canceled as long as Genesis complies with the remaining requirements, including the revision or adoption of new admission, discrimination and training policies and practices to bring them into compliance with federal requirements.
“The ADA is the law of the land, and the ADA makes it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities, including opioid use disorders,” Acting US Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell said in a statement. press release announcing the settlement.
Genesis is the fourth qualified nursing facility operator in Massachusetts to resolve allegations of denial of admission to patients receiving opioid treatment.
In a statement, Lori Mayer, spokesperson for Genesis, said the company “entered into a voluntary resolution” to “avoid litigation costs.”
“There has been no admission of wrongdoing by the centers, and the government has provided no clinical or other information to support the allegations,” Mayer said in the statement.
“To avoid litigation costs, however, the centers have nonetheless agreed to clarify their admission policies to ensure full compliance with the ADA with respect to drug-assisted treatment for disorders associated with the use of opioids, “the statement read. “The updated policy confirms that admission decisions must ensure the safety of all residents in accordance with ADA law, in accordance with Genesis policy.”
In the agreement, the company does not admit any wrongdoing and denies any knowledge of the alleged practice of refusing certain patients because of their opioid treatment.
“The designated Genesis facilities do not admit the claims made by the United States in this document and are not aware of the clinical or other circumstances of their alleged denials of admission in the referenced compliance exams,” the OK. “Nonetheless, the (facilities) have agreed to clarify or revise (…) the admission policies to ensure full compliance with the ADA.”
In December, the Justice Department struck a deal with Massachusetts-based Alliance Health and Human Services, which operates eight facilities, including nursing homes in Peabody and Marblehead, to settle similar allegations. Two other companies, Athena Health Care Systems, which operates Oxford Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Haverhill, and Charlwell House, which operates on the South Shore, have also already settled similar complaints.
Court reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.