FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Virginia Dental Office to Stop HIV Discrimination
The Justice Department announced today that, as part of its Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative , it has reached a settlement with Woodlawn Family Dentistry, of Alexandria, Va., under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This is the third settlement addressing HIV discrimination by a medical provider reached by the Justice Department in three weeks.
The Justice Department found that Woodlawn Family Dentistry required a patient with HIV to schedule all future appointments as the last appointment of the day. The department determined that, because the patient has HIV, Woodlawn failed to offer him the same options and availability in scheduling future appointments as it offered to other people. The department further determined that there was no lawful reason why Woodlawn could not treat the patient at any time during normal business hours.
“Ensuring that people with HIV are treated equally and with dignity is critical, especially in the medical field,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The ADA does not tolerate this type of discrimination and neither will the Justice Department.”
Under the settlement, Woodlawn must pay $7,000 to the patient and $3,000 in civil penalties. In addition, Woodlawn must train its staff on the ADA and develop and implement an anti-discrimination policy.
In the past two weeks, the department announced similar agreements with the Fayetteville Pain Center and the Castlewood Treatment Center to address HIV discrimination. All three settlements are part of the Department of Justice’s Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative, a partnership of the Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney’s offices across the nation, to target enforcement efforts on a critical area for individuals with disabilities. The initiative, launched on the 22nd anniversary of the ADA in July 2012, includes the participation of 40 U.S. Attorney’s offices. The division expects the initiative to address access to health care for people with HIV and those with hearing disabilities, as well as physical access to medical facilities. In 2012, the division and U.S. Attorneys offices reached two settlement agreements regarding access to medical care for people with HIV and four settlements regarding access to medical care for people with hearing disabilities. For more information on the Barrier Free Health Care Initiative visit www.ada.gov/usao-agreements.htm .
For more information on the ADA and HIV visit www.ada.gov/aids . Those interested in finding out more about these settlements or the obligations of public accommodations under the ADA may call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or access its ADA website at www.ada.gov . ADA complaints may be filed by email to firstname.lastname@example.org .