Feds reach agreement with Ascension facilities over ADA service dogs – Macomb Daily
Already feeling stressed from getting up early and preoccupied with a planned medical procedure, Sierra Richmond faced another hurdle on the day of her surgery.
Staff at Ascension Providence Hospital refused to allow their service dog into a pre-surgery area to prepare for surgery. The husky mix is a diabetic alert dog.
“The nurse said to me, ‘You can’t bring a dog here,’ and I explained that I had a legitimate service dog that came with me everywhere,” Richmond said.
“And she said she would check with her supervisor. The head nurse comes back and says that according to company policy we don’t allow animals in. business is overshadowed by federal law.
After bickering in a hallway, Richmond relented. After fully recovering from the operation, Richmond filed a complaint with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
On Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan said it had resolved its investigation into allegations that Ascension Providence Hospital and an Ascension-affiliated medical facility, Washington Primary Care, violated the ADA by denying patients with disabilities to bring their service animals into our facilities.
Under the resolution, Ascension agreed to revise its service animal and non-discrimination policies applicable to all Ascension Michigan entities, and to train staff members to comply with the new procedures.
Dawn N. Ison, the US Attorney in Detroit, said Ascension cooperated with the federal investigation, adding that the resolution ensures people with disabilities have full access to necessary medical care.
“The ADA protects the right of people who use a service animal for their disability to have their animal with them in virtually every setting, even in hospitals and doctor’s offices,” Ison said in a statement.
The ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities by hospitals and other health care providers, Ison said.
Among other things, the ADA requires physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers to make reasonable changes to their policies when necessary to accommodate people with disabilities, including allowing service animals in their facilities. .
A second, separate complaint alleged that a Washington Primary Care doctor in Washington Township refused to allow a patient to bring her service dog into an exam room. The doctor had demanded to see the “documents” for the animals and told the patient that she would not continue treatment if she insisted on bringing her service animal.
“There is no requirement to provide entry documents and a person should never be denied health services just for using a service animal,” Ison said.
The new policies include the need for an individualized assessment before a service animal is excluded or banned from any area of an Ascension Providence Hospital or Washington primary care facility.
Richmond, 50, from West Bloomfield, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and has been taking inulin since he was 10 months old. Over the years, she had problems controlling her fluctuating blood sugar levels, which often caused her blackouts and other difficulties.
That’s why she chose the service dog, which is trained to alert you to changes in blood sugar.
Richmond, an IT specialist, said she wanted other people and institutions to learn from her experience.
“I’m in the process of setting up a company trainer as a subject matter expert so they better understand that their company policies violate federal service dog law,” he said. she stated. “It’s just common sense.”
Ison said enforcement of the ADA is a top priority of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Unit.
For more information about the obligations of hospitals and other health care providers under the ADA, call the Department of Justice’s ADA Toll-Free Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), visit the ADA’s website at ada.gov.
ADA complaints in the Eastern District of Michigan can be directed to the US Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Hotline at (313) 226-9151 or [email protected]