Family of HIV-Positive Stroke Patient Sues La. Nursing Home for Allegedly Denying Admittance Based on HIV Status
The family of an HIV-positive stroke patient on Tuesday in Louisiana filed the first of five lawsuits against different nursing homes that allegedly denied admittance to the man based on his HIV status, the AP/Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports (Sayre, AP/Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 6/2). The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund in July 2003 filed a discrimination complaint with the HHS Office for Civil Rights claiming that six nursing homes refused to admit 50-year-old Cecil Little because of his HIV-positive status. According to the complaint, all of the facilities initially agreed to accept Little but reversed their decisions after paperwork revealed that Little also was being treated for HIV. The complaint asked the government to decide if by refusing admission to Little, the facilities had violated the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 -- a predecessor of the Americans with Disabilities Act -- which protects people with disabilities, including HIV, from discrimination by groups that receive any federal funding, including Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/10/03). Lambda Legal spokesperson Lisa Hardaway said that the first suit, which was filed against Tangi Pines Nursing Center of Amite, La., is intended to force the nursing home to adopt a nondiscrimination policy, according to the AP/Herald-Tribune. The lawsuit also seeks monetary damages for Little's family. Hardaway said that one or two of the facilities has refused mediation and will not discuss the matter, the AP/Herald-Tribune reports. Administrators at Tangi Pines did not return a call for comment, according to the AP/Herald-Tribune. Alexandra Mora, an attorney working with Lambda Legal to represent Little's family, said that similar suits also would be filed against Heritage Manor in Franklinton, La., and Belle Maison, Heritage Manor and Hammond Nursing Home in Hammond, La. (AP/Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 6/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.