Healthcare Company Settles Discrimination Case with DOJ

 by Tom MarinoSeptember 8, 2022

WORCESTER - Next Step Healthcare LLC, which operates 21 skilled nursing facilities in Massachusetts, has reached an agreement with the U.S. Attorney's office to resolve allegations it violated the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) by turning away patients prescribed medications for Opioid Use Disorder.

Opioid Use Disorder is considered a disability under ADA. The ADA prohibits healthcare providers from discriminating on the basis of disability. Next Step denied admissions to 548 individuals who sought care unrelated to their Opioid Use Disorder but indicated they were prescribed medications for treatment.

Next Step Healthcare will pay a civil penalty of $92,383, with $10,000 paid now. The balance will be suspended and forgiven if Next Step complies with the terms of the agreement. The terms of the agreement include Next Step agreeing to adopt a non-discrimination policy regarding the provision of services to individuals with disabilities, including individuals with SUD or individuals on MOUD, provide training on disability discrimination and SUD to admissions personnel,

Next Step Healthcare facilities include:

  • The Hermitage Healthcare, a 101 Bed facility at 383 Mill Street in Worcester
  • Fitchburg Healthcare, a 152 bed facility at 1199 John Fitch Highway in Fitchburg; and
  • Westborough Healthcare, a 117 bed facility at 8 Colonial Drive in Westborough.
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