Genesis HealthCare reached a settlement with HHS resolving allegations that the skilled-nursing provider failed to provide interpreting services for a deaf patient.
The settlement agreement
stems from a complaint the resident's sister filed in 2010 with HHS' Office for Civil Rights against Genesis' skilled-nursing facility in Randallstown, Md.
The terms call for Genesis facilities to provide accommodations for its deaf or hard of hearing patients; operate an auxiliary aids-and-services hotline; form an advisory committee to offer guidance on effective communication; and monitor compliance through feedback from patients and their advocates.
Genesis, based in Kennett Square, Pa., operates more than 400 skilled-nursing centers and assisted/senior living communities across the U.S.
After an investigation, the Office for Civil Rights determined that Genesis, by not providing an American Sign Language interpreter, did not adequately communicate with the skilled-nursing patient.
“The patient’s care was unnecessarily and significantly compromised by the stark absence of interpreter services,” Leon Rodriguez, director of the Office for Civil Rights, said in a news release.
Genesis did not respond to requests for comment. The agreement stipulates that the settlement should “not be deemed or construed to be an admission or evidence of any violation of any law or regulation or of any liability or wrongdoing.”
Any future failures to comply with the agreement would result in the assessment of monetary penalties against Genesis, according to the agreement.