News Briefs: February 5, 2024

MedStar Health Inc., in Maryland and Washington, D.C., has agreed to resolve allegations it “violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by denying people with disabilities equal access to medical care by excluding their necessary support persons,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland said Jan. 30.[1] Under a proposed consent decree, MedStar will pay $440,000 to affected people, revise its policies to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and train its workforce on the new policies. The U.S. attorney’s office explained that certain people with dementia, intellectual disabilities and other disabilities may require the help of a support person like a family member or aide when accessing medical care. “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,” the U.S. attorney’s office said. “As a result, they were unable to receive equal care without the assistance of their support person.” A judge must still sign off on the consent decree.

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