HIV-Positive Stroke Patient Files Discrimination Complaint With HHS
The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund on Wednesday filed a discrimination complaint with the HHS Office for Civil Rights claiming that six Louisiana nursing homes did not accept a stroke patient because he is also HIV-positive, the AP/Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports. According to the complaint, all of the facilities initially agreed to accept 50-year-old Cecil Little but reversed their decisions after paperwork revealed that Little is also being treated for HIV infection. The complaint -- filed against Tangi Pines in Amite, Kentwood Manor in Kentwood, Heritage Manor in Franklinton, Belle Maison of Hammond, Heritage Manor in Hammond and Hammond Nursing Home -- asks the government to decide if the facilities violated the U.S. Rehabilitation Act, which protects people with disabilities, including HIV, from discrimination by groups that receive any federal funding, including Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, the AP/Herald-Tribune reports. If the nursing homes are found to have violated the act, they likely will be required to adopt new policies "of not discriminating against HIV patients and training staff to deal with such patients" but will likely not face any fines, according to Jonathan Givner, a New York-based Lambda Legal attorney. He added that although the patient's family did not disclose Little's HIV-positive status, they also never hid the information from nursing home officials and included the information in required paperwork after the homes told the family that rooms were available, according to the AP/Herald-Tribune. Officials at the six facilities said that they had not been formally notified of the complaint and could not yet comment, the AP/Herald-Tribune reports (Martel, AP/Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 7/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.