The Americans with Disabilities Act recognizes those diagnosed with opioid dependency as having a disability. Still, some nursing homes and assisted living facilities are denying entry to those who are receiving medication for opioid withdrawals. While many of these patients have recently been dismissed from a hospital and will not require long-term care, denying their entry to a facility may violate their rights. Stat News reports on the situation.
In Ohio, opioid overdoses claimed the lives of 100 people a week between August 2016 and August 2017. Despite those scary statistics, more than 900 care facilities said that none of them would accept patients receiving two popular opioid addiction treatments: methadone or buprenorphine.
The story is similar in Massachusetts, where a nurse case manager for Boston Medical Center said it can be “next to impossible” to find a facility that would accept patients being treated for opioid dependency.
However, legal experts are eager to point out that it is illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to refuse admission to a patient on the basis of what medications they are prescribed.
However, the law is rarely challenged or enforced and many facilities seem unaware of this legal obligation.
To combat the confusion surrounding this ordeal, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued guidance for facilities caring for patients who are in treatment for addiction. The guidelines strictly asserted that when they are otherwise eligible for admission, taking a medication for addiction is not grounds for denying admission.
In addition to nursing facilities denying treatment for those taking addiction medications, the department of corrections has come under scrutiny for not providing medication to addicted inmates. The Department of Justice is currently investigating these allegations.