Lincare Sued by DOJ for ADA Discrimination Against Deaf Client
SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE DJ # 202-79-337
The parties (Parties) to this Settlement Agreement (Agreement) are the United States of America (United States) and Lincare Inc. (Lincare), a supplier of oxygen, durable medical equipment and other respiratory care products and related services such as nebulizers, and sleep and enteral therapy. Lincare operates approximately 800 centers in most states. Lincare personnel make home visits and visits to other locations where medical equipment procured from Lincare is being used.
The Complainant, who is deaf, alleged that Lincare personnel failed to provide qualified sign language interpreter services during an appointment in which she was renting a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device (CPAP).
On the basis of its investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office determined that Lincare denied the Complainant’s request for appropriate auxiliary aids and services necessary for effective communication during an appointment in which she was renting a CPAP device, which is a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(iii); 28 C.F.R. § 36.303. Lincare denies these allegations and does not admit liability for any wrongdoing by entering into this Agreement.
As a result of this Agreement, Lincare has agreed to do the following:
Lincare shall provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified interpreters, where such aids and services are necessary to ensure effective communication with Patients and Companions who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Lincare shall not deny equal services, accommodations, or other opportunities to any individual because of the known relationship of that person with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing.
Lincare will designate one or more employees to serve as an ADA Administrator, or Co-Administrator, and at least one such employee will always be on call and available 24 hours a day and seven days a week to answer questions and provide appropriate assistance.
Lincare has established a grievance resolution mechanism for the investigation of disputes with patients.
Lincare personnel will assess a patient’s need for auxiliary aids or services during the initial phone call with the patient to schedule the initial appointment.
Lincare will maintain a log in which it keeps copies of requests for auxiliary aids and services, including qualified interpreters on site or through video remote services.
All appropriate auxiliary aids and services required by this Agreement will be provided free of charge to the deaf or hard of hearing Patient and/or Companion.
Lincare will provide mandatory ADA training for all Lincare personnel within sixty (60) days of the Effective Date, and will be conducted annually thereafter during the term of the agreement.
Lincare has engaged the Southeast ADA Center to prepare a training module for the training required above.
At the six month, twelve month, and twenty-four month point beginning after the Effective Date, Lincare will provide a written report (Compliance Report) to the U.S. Attorney’s Office regarding the status of its compliance with this Agreement.
Within ten (10) days after receiving the complainant’s signed release, Lincare will send a check for Compensatory Relief in the amount of ten thousand ($10,000) dollars to Complainant and another check in the amount of ten thousand ($10,000) dollars to the United States for civil penalties.