Leonard C Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has reached a settlement agreement with Danbury Hospital, which owns and operates Morganti Wound Care Center (“MWCC”), to resolve allegations that MWCC was not operating in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”).
The settlement agreement resolves an ADA complaint filed by a patient who uses a wheelchair, who alleged that he was denied full and equal access to the services provided by MWCC based on his disability, when he attempted to receive medical treatment. Specifically, he alleged that he was told he must reschedule his appointment because MWCC did not have the equipment or training necessary to transfer him from his wheelchair to the examination table.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Danbury Hospital will adopt a nondiscrimination policy that outlines its obligations pursuant to Title III of the ADA. MWCC will also ensure that individuals with mobility disabilities are afforded equal access to its facilities and services, by training all staff who interact with patients on the requirements of Title III of the ADA as they apply to healthcare facilities and on techniques for safely assisting individuals with mobility disabilities to transfer to examination tables.
Danbury Hospital is also taking steps to ensure that each of its outpatient facilities has and will maintain access to a Hoyer lift, and has implemented other practices to transfer a patient onto examination tables, or other equipment, safely. Danbury Hospital has also agreed to compensate the complainant in the amount of $10,000.
Under federal law, private entities that own or operate places of “public accommodation,” including professional offices of healthcare providers, hospitals, and other service establishments are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of disability. The ADA authorizes the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate complaints and undertake periodic reviews of compliance of covered entities. The Justice Department is also authorized to commence a civil lawsuit in federal court in any case that involves a pattern or practice of discrimination or that raises issues of general public importance, and to seek injunctive relief, monetary damages, and civil penalties.
Acting U.S. Attorney Boyle noted that Danbury Hospital was cooperative with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and is committed to addressing the issues raised by the ADA investigation without litigation.
Any member of the public who wishes to file a complaint alleging that any place of public accommodation or public entity in Connecticut is not accessible to persons with disabilities may contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 203-821-3700.
Additional information about the ADA can be found at www.ada.gov, or by calling the Justice Department’s toll-free information line at (800) 514-0301 and (800) 514-0383 (TTY). More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.justice.gov/crt.