Genesis Healthcare resolved allegations that twelve of its facilities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island denied admission to prospective residents who were prescribed treatment for opioid use disorder, federal investigators said Monday.
The provider will pay more than $ 700,000 for the allegations, adopt nondiscrimination policies, and train admissions staff, under the terms of agreement. Genesis could waive up to $ 50,000 of the penalties if the facility meets the terms of the agreement.
“(HHS) Secretary [Xavier] Becerra has made advancing the goal of ending the opioid crisis a key priority for HHS, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this deadly crisis, “said Dr. Robinsue Frohboese, Acting Director of the Office of HHS Civil Rights in a statement. “This agreement and the steps Genesis is taking at its facilities further this important goal by ensuring that civil rights laws protect access to health care for people undergoing treatment for the disorder. for opioid use. “
Federal prosecutors in Massachusetts and Rhode Island opened an investigation after receiving complaints that alleged Genesis facilities were refusing to admit patients because they were being treated with buprenorphine or methadone, which would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Affordable Care Act.
The settlement pointed to an April 2019 incident when a hospital requested an available bed for a patient in need of skilled nursing services at one of the facilities only to have staff refuse admission due to the patient’s prescription of Suboxone.
The Massachusetts Office of the United States Attorney has reached four settlements with nursing facility operators for similar claims.
Despite legal protections, post-acute care facilities routinely deny admission of patients receiving drug-assisted treatment. Nearly a third of post-acute care centers in Massachusetts turned away patients with opioid use disorder in 2018, according to a 2020 report. analysis by the Grayken Center for Addiction at Boston Medical Center.
Genesis did not admit that the allegations occurred as part of the settlement agreement.