Americans With Disabilities

On June 9, 2020 the Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced it had reached an Early Case Resolution (ECR) with the State of Connecticut and a separate ECR with Hartford Hospital. Both ECRs involve the rights of patients with disabilities to have reasonable access to support persons in hospital settings during COVID-19. OCR had received complaints that the COVID-19 hospital visitor policies of the State and the hospital violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to make exceptions for patients needing support persons for their care.
Continue Reading OCR Reaches Early Case Resolutions with the State of Connecticut and a Private Hospital Regarding Rights of Persons with Disabilities to Have Reasonable Access to Support Persons in Hospital Settings During COVID-19

On July 1, 2019, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law Public Act No. 19-99 “An Act Concerning the Recommendations of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Regarding Emergency Medication” (PA 19-99). PA 19-99 went into effect on the same date.

Existing law provides for certain court procedures a facility must follow in order to provide treatment without informed consent for psychiatric disabilities to defendant patients in the custody of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. A facility includes any inpatient or outpatient hospital, clinic or other facility for the diagnosis, observation or treatment of persons with psychiatric disabilities. For patients incapable of giving informed consent, the facility can petition the probate court for the appointment of a conservator with limited powers, who would have the specific authority to give or withhold informed consent to the administration of medication on behalf of the patient. For patients capable but unwilling to give informed consent, the facility can petition the probate court to authorize the treatment.
Continue Reading Connecticut Legislature Permits Facilities to Administer Emergency Medication to Defendants Without Consent in Limited Circumstances

In Stevens v. Rite Aid Corp., No. 15-277 (March 21, 2017), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed a jury award of almost $2 million that had been awarded in favor of a pharmacist who had a fear of needles and could not comply with Rite Aid’s new policy that required pharmacists to administer immunization injections to customers.

In 2011, in an effort to fill a vaccination void in the healthcare market, Rite Aid imposed a new requirement that all pharmacists must administer immunizations.  Rite Aid revised its job description, requiring pharmacists to obtain valid immunization certificates and establishing immunizations as a part of the pharmacist’s essential job functions.

The plaintiff had worked for Rite Aid for 34 years.  After receiving notice of the new requirement, he presented Rite Aid with a note from his treating physician stating that he suffered from trypanophobia, a fear of needles.  His condition caused him to become lightheaded, pale, and feeling that he might faint.  The physician stated that the plaintiff could not safely administer an injection since the likelihood that he would faint would be unsafe for both the patient and the plaintiff.  Due to his trypanophobia, the plaintiff requested that Rite Aid provide him with a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  A short time later, Rite Aid terminated his employment.
Continue Reading Appeals Court Reverses ADA Jury Verdict for Pharmacist with Fear of Needles