FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 23, 2010
Contact: HHS Press Office
Windsor Rosewood Care Center to Provide Individuals with HIV/AIDS Equal Access to Nursing Home Care
HHS’ Office for Civil Rights and Contra Costa County, Calif., Skilled Nursing Facility Sign Settlement Agreement
The Windsor Rosewood Care Center, LLC (WRCC), located in Contra Costa County, Calif., has agreed to provide individuals with HIV/AIDS equal access to its skilled nursing facility, as required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, under a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Settlement Agreement.
Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, including HIV or AIDS, in programs or activities which receive federal financial assistance (often nursing homes or hospitals reimbursed under Medicaid or Medicare Part A).
This settlement resulted from a discrimination complaint filed with the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) by the Contra Costa HIV Legal Services Project. After investigating the complaint, OCR issued a Violation Letter of Finding to WRCC, concluding that when it was owned and operated by Helios Healthcare, LLC, the skilled nursing facility violated Section 504 by denying admission to a Medicaid beneficiary because he was HIV-positive.
Without access to WRCC or another skilled nursing facility, the Medicaid beneficiary was placed in a board and care home that could not meet his medical needs. Although the Medicaid beneficiary was ultimately placed in a different skilled nursing facility, he died twenty-eight days later, at the age of forty-five.
Under the settlement agreement, WRCC will establish non-discrimination, reasonable accommodation, and universal precautions policies; report to OCR for an eighteen month period; implement patient grievance procedures; and inform patients of their right to file with OCR and have their discrimination complaints investigated. In addition, WRCC supervisory staff will receive comprehensive training from the Pacific AIDS Education and Training Center, which is funded by the HHS Health Resources and Services Administration, through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009.
“This Contra Costa County case should make it clear that we will not tolerate a nursing home denying admission to an individual solely because he is HIV-positive,” said OCR Director Georgina Verdugo. “The Department is committed to ensuring access to health care for all Americans; and OCR will act diligently to eliminate unlawful discrimination in nursing homes and other health care settings.”
A copy of OCR’s Violation Letter of Findings and the Settlement Agreement can be found at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/activities/agreements/index.html.
If a person feels that a health care provider receiving federal financial assistance from HHS, or a state or local government agency, has discriminated against him or her (or someone else) on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, or age, he or she may file a discrimination complaint with the HHS Office for Civil Rights at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/complaints/index.html.
Some civil rights laws may also protect you from discrimination based on sex (gender) or religion. For more information about OCR’s work to protect the civil rights and health information privacy rights of individuals with HIV/AIDS, see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/resources/specialtopics/hiv/index.html.
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Last revised: May 7, 2011